Part 5 out of 12
'Beautiful profile, has she not?' said Miss Dunstable, somewhat
later in the evening, to Mrs Proudie. Of course, the profile
spoken of belonged to Miss Grantly.
'Yes, it is beautiful, certainly,' said Mrs Proudie. 'The pity is
that it means nothing.'
'The gentlemen seem to think that it means a good deal.'
'I am not sure of that. She has no conversation, you see; not a
word. She has been sitting there with Lord Dumbello at her elbow
for the last hour, and yet she has hardly opened her mouth three
'But, my dear Mrs Proudie, who on earth could talk to Lord
Dumbello?' Mrs Proudie thought that her own daughter Olivia would
undoubtedly be able to do so, if only she could get the
opportunity. But, then, Olivia had so much conversation. And while
the two ladies were yet looking at the youthful pair, Lord Dumbello
did speak again. 'I think I have had enough of this now,' said he,
addressing himself to Griselda.
'I suppose you have other engagements,' said she.
'Oh, yes; and I believe I shall go to Lady Clantelbrocks.' And then
he took his departure. No other word was spoken that evening
between him and Miss Grantly beyond those given in this chronicle,
and yet the world declared that he and that young lady had passed
the evening in so close a flirtation as to make the matter more
than ordinarily particular; and Mrs Grantly, as she was driven home
to her lodgings, began to have doubts in her mind whether it would
be wise to discountenance so great an alliance as that which the
head of the great Hartletop family now seemed so desirous to
establish. The prudent mother had not yet spoken a word to her
daughter on these subjects, but it might soon become necessary to
do so. It was all very well for Lady Lufton to hurry up to town,
but of what service would that be, if Lord Lufton were not to be
found in Bruton Street?
THE NEW MINISTER'S PATRONAGE
At that time, just as Lady Lufton was about to leave Framley for
London, Mark Robarts received a pressing letter, inviting him also
to go up to the metropolis for a day or two--not for pleasure, but
on business. The letter was from his indefatigable friend
Sowerby. 'My dear Robarts,' the letter ran:--'I have just heard
that poor little Burslem, the Barsetshire prebendary, is dead. We
must all die some day, you know--as you have told your parishioners
from the Framley pulpit more than once, no doubt. The stall must
be filled up, and why should not you have it as well as another?
It is six hundred a year and a house. Little Burslem had nine, but
the good old times are gone. Whether the house is lettable or not
under the present ecclesiastical regime, I do not know. It used to
be so, for I remember Mrs Wiggins, the tallow-chandler's widow,
living in old Stanhope's house.
'Harold Smith has just joined the Government as Lord Petty Bag, and
could, I think, at the present moment, get this for asking. He
cannot well refuse me, and, if you will say the word, I will speak
to him. You had better come up yourself; but say the word "Yes" or
"No" by the wires.
'If you say "Yes", as of course you will, do not fail to come up.
You will find me at the "Travellers", or at the House. The stall
will just suit you,--will give you no trouble, improve your
position, and give some little assistance towards bed and board,
and rack and manger. --Yours ever faithfully, N. SOWERBY,
'Singularly enough, I hear your brother is private secretary to the
new Lord Petty Bag. I am told that his chief duty will consist in
desiring the servants to call my sister's carriage. I have only
seen Harold once since he accepted office; but my Lady Petty Bag
says that he has certainly grown an inch since that occurrence.'
This was certainly very good-natured on the part of Mr Sowerby, and
showed that he had a feeling within his bosom that he owed
something to his friend the parson for the injury he had done him.
And such was in truth the case. A more reckless being than the
member for West Barsetshire could not exist. He was reckless for
himself, and reckless for all others with whom he might be
concerned. He could ruin his friends with as little remorse he had
ruined himself. All was fair game that came in the way of his net.
But, nevertheless, he was good-natured, and willing to move heaven
and earth to do a friend a good turn, if it came in his way to do
so. He did really love Mark Robarts as much as it was given to him
to love any among his acquaintance. He knew that he had already
done him an almost irreparable injury, and might very probably
injure him still deeper before he had done with him. That he would
undoubtedly do so, if it came in his way, was very certain. But
then, if it also came in his way to repay his friend by any side
blow he would also undoubtedly do that. Such an occasion had now
come, and he had desired his sister to give the new Lord Petty Bag
no rest till he should have promised to use all his influence in
getting the vacant prebend for Mark Robarts.
This letter of Sowerby's Mark immediately showed to his wife. How
lucky, thought he to himself, that not a word was said in it about
those accursed money transactions! Had he understood Sowerby
better he would have known that that gentleman never said anything
about money transactions until it became absolutely necessary. 'I
know you don't like Mr Sowerby,' he said; 'but you must own that
this is very good natured.'
'It is the character I hear of him that I don't like,' said Mrs
'But what shall I do now, Fanny? As he says, why should not I have
the stall as well as another?'
'I suppose it would not interfere with your parish?'
'Not in the least, at the distance we are. I did think of giving
up old Jones; but if I take this, of course I must keep the
curate.' His wife could not find it in her heart to dissuade him
from accepting promotion when it came in his way--what vicar's
wife would have so persuaded her husband? But yet she did not
altogether like it. She feared that Greek from Chaldicotes, even
when he came with the present of a prebendal stall in his hands.
And then what would Lady Lufton say?
'And do you think that you must go up to London, Mark?'
'Oh, certainly; that is, if I intend to accept Harold Smith's kind
offices in the matter.'
'I suppose it will be better to accept them,' said Fanny, feeling
perhaps that it would be useless in her to hope that they should
not be accepted.
'Prebendal stalls, Fanny, don't generally go begging long among
clergymen. How could I reconcile it to the duty I owe my children
to refuse such an increase to my income?' And so it was settled
that he should at once drive to Silverbridge and send off a message
by telegraph, and that he should himself proceed to London on the
following day. 'But you must see Lady Lufton first, of course,'
said Fanny, as soon as all this was settled. Mark would have
avoided this if he could have decently done so, but he felt that it
would be impolite, as well as indecent. And why should he be
afraid to tell Lady Lufton that he hoped to receive this piece of
promotion from the present Government? There was nothing
disgraceful in a clergyman becoming a prebendary of Barchester.
Lady Lufton herself had always been very civil to the prebendaries,
and especially to little Dr Burslem, the meagre little man who had
just now paid the debt of nature. She had always been very fond of
the chapter, and her original dislike to Bishop Proudie had been
chiefly on his interference, or on that of his wife or chaplain.
Considering these things Mark Robarts tried to make himself believe
that Lady Lufton would be delighted at his good fortune. But yet
he did not believe it. She at any rate would revolt from the gift
of the Greek of Chaldicotes. 'Oh, indeed,' she said, when the
vicar had with some difficulty explained to her all the
circumstances of the case. 'Well, I congratulate you, Mr Robarts,
on your powerful new patron.'
'You will probably feel with me, Lady Lufton, that the benefice is
one which I can hold without any detriment to me in my position
here at Framley,' said he, prudently resolving to let the slur upon
his friends pass by unheeded.
'Well, I hope so. Of course, you are a very young man, Mr Robarts,
and these things have generally been given to clergymen more
advanced in life.'
'But you do not mean to say that you think I ought to refuse it?'
'What my advice to you might be if you really came to me for
advice, I am hardly prepared to say at so very short a notice. You
seem to have made up your mind, and therefore I need not consider
it. As it is, I wish you joy, and hope that it may turn out to
your advantage in every way.'
'You understand, Lady Lufton, that I have by no means got it yet.'
'Oh, I thought it had been offered to you: I thought you spoke of
this new minister as having all that in his own hand.'
'Oh dear no. What may be the amount of his influence in that
respect I do not at all know. But my correspondent assures me--'
'Mr Sowerby, you mean. Why don't you call him by his name?'
'Mr Sowerby assures me that Mr Smith will ask for it; and thinks it
most probable that his request will be successful.'
'Oh, of course. Mr Sowerby and Mr Harold Smith together would no
doubt be successful in anything. They are the sort of men who are
successful nowadays. Well, Mr Robarts, I wish you joy.' And she
gave him her hand in token of her sincerity. Mark took her hand,
resolving to say nothing further on that occasion. That Lady
Lufton was not now cordial with him, as she used to be, he was well
aware; and sooner or later he was determined to have the matter out
with her. He would ask her why she so constantly met with him in a
taunt, and so seldom greeted him with that kind old affectionate
smile which he knew and appreciated so well. That she was honest
and true he was quite sure. If he asked her the question plainly,
she would answer him openly. And if he could induce her to say
that she would return to her old ways, return to them she would in
a hearty manner. But he could not do this just at present. It was
but a day or two since Mr Crawley had been with him; and was it not
probable that Mr Crawley had been sent hither by Lady Lufton? His
own hands were not clean enough for a remonstrance at the present
moment. He would cleanse them, and then he would remonstrate.
'Would you like to live part of the year in Barchester?' he said to
his wife and sister that evening.
'I think that the two houses are only a trouble,' said his wife.
'And we have been happy here.'
'I have always liked a cathedral town,' said Lucy; 'and I am
particularly fond of the close.'
'And Barchester Close is the closest of all closes,' said Mark.
'There is not a single house within the gateways that does not
belong to the chapter.'
'But if we are to keep up two houses, the additional income will
soon be wasted,' said Fanny, prudently.
'The thing would be to let the house furnished every summer,' said
'But I must take my residence as the terms come,' said the vicar;
'and I certainly should not like to be away from Framley all the
winter; I should never see anything of Lufton.' And perhaps he
thought of his hunting and then thought again of the cleansing of
'I should not a bit mind being away during winter,' said Lucy,
thinking of what the last winter had done for her.
'But where on earth should we find money to furnish one of those
large, old-fashioned houses? Pray, Mark, do not do anything
rash.' And the wife laid her hand affectionately on her husband's
arm. In this manner the question of the prebend was discussed
between them on the evening before he started for London. Success
had at last crowned the earnest effort with which Harold Smith had
carried on the political battle of his life for the last ten
years. The late Lord Petty Bag had resigned in disgust, having
been unable to digest the Prime Minister's ideas on Indian Reform,
and Mr Harold Smith, after sundry hitches in the business, was
installed in his place. It was said that Harold Smith was not
exactly the man whom the Premier would himself have chosen for that
high office; but the Premier's hands were a good deal tied by
circumstances. The last great appointment he had made had been
terribly unpopular,--so much so as to subject him, popular as he
undoubtedly was himself, to a screech from the whole nation. The
Jupiter, with withering scorn, had asked whether vice of every kind
was to be considered, in these days of Queen Victoria, as a
passport to the Cabinet. Adverse members of both Houses had
arrayed themselves in a pure panoply of morality, and thundered
forth their sarcasms with the indignant virtue and keen discontent
of political Juvenals; and even his own friends had held up their
hands in dismay. Under these circumstances he had thought himself
obliged in the present instance to select a man who would not be
especially objectionable to any party. Now Harold Smith lived with
his wife, and his circumstances were not more than ordinarily
embarrassed. He kept no racehorses; and, as Lord Brock now heard
for the first time, gave lectures in provincial towns on popular
subjects. He had a seat which was tolerably secure, and could talk
to the House by the yard if required to do so. Moreover, Lord
Brock had a great idea that the whole machinery of his own ministry
would break to pieces very speedily. His own reputation was not
bad, but it was insufficient for himself and lately for that
selected friend of his. Under all the circumstances combined, he
chose Harold Smith to fill the vacant office of Lord Petty Bag; and
very proud the Lord Petty Bag was. For the last three or four
months, he and Mr Supplehouse had been agreeing to consign the
ministry to speedy perdition. 'This sort of dictatorship will
never do,' Harold Smith had himself said, justifying that future
vote of his as to want of confidence in the Queen's Government. And
Mr Supplehouse in this matter had fully agreed with him. He was a
Juno whose form that wicked old Paris had utterly despised, and he,
too, had quite made up his mind as to the lobby in which he would
be found when that day of vengeance should arrive. But now things
were much altered in Harold Smith's views. The Premier had shown
his wisdom in seeking for new strength where strength ought to be
sought, and introducing new blood into the body of his ministry.
The people would now feel fresh confidence, and probably the House
also. As to Mr Supplehouse--he would use all his influence on
Supplehouse. But after all, Mr Supplehouse was not everything.
On the morning after the vicar's arrival in London he attended at
the Petty Bag Office. It was situated in the close neighbourhood
of Downing Street and the higher governmental gods; and though the
building itself was not much, seeing that it was shored up on one
side, that it bulged out on the front, was foul with smoke, dingy
with dirt, and was devoid of any single architectural grace or
modern scientific improvement, nevertheless its position gave it a
status in the world which made the clerks in the Lord Petty Bag's
office quite respectable in their walk of life. Mark had seen his
friend Sowerby on the previous evening, and had then made an
appointment with him for the following morning, at the new
minister's office. And now he was there a little before his time,
in order that he might have a few moments' chat with his brother.
When Mark found himself in the private secretary's room he was
quite astonished to see the change in his brother's appearance
which the change in his official rank had produced. Jack Robarts
had been a well-built, straight-legged, lissom young fellow,
pleasant to the eye because of his natural advantages, but rather
given to a harum-scarum style of gait, and occasionally careless,
not to say slovenly, of dress. But now he was the very pink of
perfection. His jaunty frock-coat fitted him to perfection; not a
hair of his head was out of place; his waistcoat and trousers were
glossy and new, and his umbrella, which stood in the umbrella-stand
in the corner, was tight and neat, and small and natty. 'Well,
John, you've become quite a great man,' said his brother.
'I don't know much about that,' said John; 'but I find that I have
an enormous deal of fagging to go through.'
'Do you mean work? I thought you had about the easiest berth in
the whole Civil Service.'
'Ah! that's just the mistake people make. Because we don't cover
whole reams of foolscap paper at the rate of fifteen lines to a
page, and five words to a line, people think that we private
secretaries have got nothing to do. Look here,' and he tossed over
scornfully a dozen or so of little notes. 'I tell you what, Mark;
it is no easy matter to manage the patronage of a Cabinet
minister. Now I am bound to write to every one of these fellows a
letter that will please him; and yet I shall refuse to every one of
them the request which he asks.'
'That must be difficult.'
'Difficult is no word for it. But, after all, it consists chiefly
in the knack of the thing. One must have the wit "from such a
sharp and waspish word as No to pluck the sting". I do it every
day, and I really think that the people like it.'
'Perhaps your refusals are better than people's acquiescences.'
'I don't mean that at all. We private secretaries have all to do
the same thing. Now, would you believe it? I have used up three
lifts of notepaper already in telling people that there is no
vacancy for a lobby messenger in the Petty Bag Office. Seven
peeresses have asked for it for their favourite footmen. But
there--there's the Lord Petty Bag!' A bell rang and the private
secretary, jumping up from his notepaper, tripped away quickly to
the great man's room. 'He'll see you at once,' said he, returning.
'Buggins, show the Reverend Mr Robarts to the Lord Petty Bag.'
Buggins was the messenger for whose vacant place all the peeresses
were striving with so much animation. And then Mark, following
Buggins for two steps, was ushered into the next room.
If a man be altered by becoming a private secretary, he is much
more altered by being made a Cabinet minister. Robarts, as he
entered the room, could hardly believe that this was the same
Harold Smith whom Mrs Proudie bothered so cruelly in the
lecture-room at Barchester. Then he was cross, and touchy, and
uneasy, and insignificant. Now, as he stood smiling on the
hearth-rug of his official fire-place, it was quite pleasant to see
the kind, patronizing smile which lighted up his features. He
delighted to stand there, with his hands in his trousers' pocket,
the great man of the place, conscious of his lordship, and feeling
himself every inch a minister. Sowerby had come with him, and was
standing a little in the background, from which position he winked
occasionally at the parson over the minister's shoulder. 'Ah,
Robarts, delighted to see you. How odd, by the by, that your
brother should be my private secretary!' Mark said that it was a
'A very smart young fellow, and, if he minds himself, he'll do
'I'm quite sure he'll do well,' said Mark.
'Ah! well, yes; I think he will. And now, what can I do for you,
Robarts?' Hereupon Mr Sowerby struck in, making it apparent by his
explanation that Mr Robarts himself by no means intended to ask for
anything; but that, as his friends had thought that this stall at
Barchester might be put into his hands with more fitness than in
those of any other clergyman of the day, he was willing to accept a
piece of preferment from a man whom he respected so much as he did
the new Lord Petty Bag. The minister did not quite like this, as
it restricted him from much of his condescension, and robbed him of
the incense of a petition which he had expected Mark Robarts would
make to him. But, nevertheless, he was very gracious. 'He could
not take it upon himself to declare,' he said, 'what might be Lord
Brock's pleasure with reference to the preferment at Barchester
which was vacant. He had certainly already spoken to his lordship
on the subject, and had perhaps some reason to believe that his own
wishes would be consulted. No distinct promise had been made, but
he might perhaps go so far as to say that he expected such result.
If so, it would give him the greatest pleasure in the world to
congratulate Mr Robarts on the possession of the stall--a stall
which he was sure Mr Robarts would fill with dignity, piety, and
brotherly love.' And then, when he had finished, Mr Sowerby gave a
final wink, and said that he regarded the matter as settled.
'No, not settled, Nathaniel,' said the cautious minister.
'It's the same thing,' rejoined Sowerby. 'We all know what all
that flummery means. Men in office, Mark, never do make a distinct
promise,--not even to themselves of the leg of mutton which is
roasting before their kitchen fires. It is so necessary in these
days to be safe; is it not, Harold?'
'Most expedient,' said Harold Smith, shaking his head wisely.
'Well, Robarts, who is it now?' This he had said to his private
secretary, who came to notice the arrival of some bigwig. 'Well,
yes. I will say good morning, with your leave, for I am a little
hurried. And remember, Mr Robarts, I will do what I can for you;
but you must distinctly understand that there is no promise.'
'Oh, no promise at all,' said Sowerby--'of course not.' And then,
as he sauntered up Whitehall towards Charing Cross, with Robarts on
his arm, he again pressed upon him the sale of that invaluable
hunter, who was eating his head off his shoulders in the stable at
Mr Sowerby, in his resolution to obtain this good gift for the vicar
of Framley, did not depend quite alone on the influence of his near
connexion with the Lord Petty Bag. He felt the occasion to be one
on which he might endeavour to move even higher powers than that,
and therefore he had opened the matter to the duke--not by direct
application, but through Mr Fothergill. No man who understood
matters ever thought of going direct to the duke in such an affair
as that. If one wanted to speak about a woman or a horse or a
picture the duke could, on occasions, be affable enough. But
through Mr Fothergill the duke was approached. It was represented,
with some cunning, that this buying over of the Framley clergyman
from the Lufton side would be a praiseworthy spoiling of the
Amalekites. The doing so would give the Omnium interest a hold
even in the cathedral close. And then it was known to all men that
Mr Robarts had considerable influence over Lord Lufton himself. So
guided, the Duke of Omnium did say two words to the Prime Minister,
and two words from the duke went a great way, even with Lord
Brock. The upshot of all this was, that Mark Robarts did get the
stall; but he did not hear the tidings of his success till some
days after his return to Framley.
Mr Sowerby did not forget to tell him of the great effort--the
unusual effort, as he of Chaldicotes called it--which the duke had
made on the subject. 'I don't know when he has done such a thing
before,' said Sowerby; 'and you may be quite sure of this, he would
not have done it now, had you not gone to Gatherum Castle when he
asked you: indeed, Fothergill would have known that it was vain to
attempt it. And I'll tell you what, Mark--it does not do for me to
make little of my own nest, but I truly believe the duke's word
will be more efficacious than the Lord Petty Bag's solemn
adjuration.' Mark, of course, expressed his gratitude in proper
terms, and did buy the horse for a hundred and thirty pounds. 'He's
as well worth it,' said Sowerby, 'as any animal that ever stood on
four legs; and my only reason for pressing him on you is, that when
Tozer's day does come round, I know you will have to stand us to
something about that tune.' It did not occur to Mark to ask him
why the horse should not be sold to some one else, and the money
forthcoming in the regular way. But this would not have suited Mr
Mark knew that the beast was good, and as he walked to his lodgings
was half proud of his new possession. But then, how would he
justify it to his wife, or how introduce the animal into his
stables without attempting any justification in the matter? And
yet, looking to the absolute amount of his income, surely he might
feel himself entitled to buy a new horse when it suited him. He
wondered what Mr Crawley would say when he heard of the new
purchase. He had lately fallen into a state of much wondering as
to what his friends and neighbours would say about him. He had now
been two days in town, and was to go down after breakfast on the
following morning so that he might reach home by Friday afternoon.
But on that evening, just as he was going to bed, he was surprised
by Lord Lufton coming into the coffee room at his hotel. He walked
in with a hurried step, his face was red, and it was clear that he
was very angry. 'Robarts,' said he, walking up to his friend and
taking the hand that was extended to him, 'do you know anything
about this man Tozer?'
'Tozer--what Tozer. I have heard Sowerby speak of such a man.'
'Of course you have. If I do not mistake you have written to me
about him yourself.'
'Very probably. I remember Sowerby mentioning the man with
reference to your affairs. But why do you ask me?'
'This man has not only written to me, but has absolutely forced his
way into my rooms when I was dressing for dinner; and absolutely
had the impudence to tell me that if I did not honour some bill
which he holds for eight hundred pounds he would proceed against
'But you settled all that matter with Sowerby?'
'I did settle it at very great cost to me. Sooner than have a
fuss, I paid him through the nose--like a fool that I
was--everything that he claimed. This is an absolute swindle, and
if it goes on I will expose it as such.' Robarts looked round the
room, but luckily there was not a soul in it but themselves. 'You
do not mean that Sowerby is swindling you?' said the clergyman.
'It looks very like it,' said Lord Lufton; 'and I tell you fairly
that I am not in a humour to endure any more of this sort of
thing. Some years ago I made an ass of myself through that man's
fault. But four thousand pounds should have covered the whole of
what I really lost. I have now paid more than three times that
sum; and, by heavens! I will not pay more without exposing the
'But, Lufton, I do not understand. What is this bill?--has it
your name on it?'
'Yes, it has: I'll not deny my name, and if there be absolute need,
I will pay it; but, if I do so, my lawyer will sift it, and it
shall go before a jury.'
'But I thought all those bills were paid.'
'I left it to Sowerby to get up the old bills when they were
renewed, and now one of them has in truth been already honoured is
brought against me.' Mark could not but think of the two documents
which he himself had signed, and both of which were now undoubtedly
in the hands of Tozer, or of some other gentleman of the same
profession;--which both might be brought against him, the second as
soon as he should have satisfied the first. And then he remembered
that Sowerby had said something to him about an outstanding bill,
for the filling up of which some trifle must be paid, and of this
he reminded Lord Lufton.
'And do you call eight hundred pounds a trifle? If so, I do not.'
'They will probably make no such demand as that.'
'But I tell you they do make such a demand, and have made it. The
man whom I saw, and who told me that he was Tozer's friend, but who
was probably Tozer himself, positively swore to me that he would be
obliged to take legal proceedings if the money were not forthcoming
within a week or ten days. When I explained to him that it was an
old bill that had been renewed, he declared that his friends had
given full value for it.'
'Sowerby said that you would probably have to pay ten pounds to
redeem it. I should offer the man some such sum as that.'
'My intention is to offer the man nothing, but to leave the affair
in the hands of my lawyer with instructions to him to spare none;
neither myself nor any one else. I am not going to allow such a man
as Sowerby to squeeze me like an orange.'
'But, Lufton, you seem as though you were angry with me.'
'No, I am not. But I think it is as well to caution you about this
man; my transactions with him lately have chiefly been through you,
'But they have only been so through his and your wish: because I
have been anxious to oblige you both. I hope you don't mean to say
that I am concerned in these bills.'
'I know that you are concerned in bills with him.'
'Why, Lufton, am I to understand then, that you are accusing me of
having any interest in these transactions which you have called
'As far as I am concerned there has been swindling, and there is
swindling going on now.'
'But you do not answer my question. Do you bring any accusation
against me? If so, I agree with you that you had better go to your
'I think that is what I shall do.'
'Very well. But, upon the whole, I never heard of a more
unreasonable man, or of one whose thoughts are more unjust than
yours. Solely with the view of assisting you, and solely at your
request, I spoke to Sowerby about these money transactions of
yours. Then, at his request, which originated out of your request,
he using me as his ambassador to you, as you had used me as yours
to him, I wrote and spoke to you. And now this is the upshot.'
'I bring no accusation against you, Robarts; but I know you have
dealings with this man. You have told me so yourself.'
'Yes, at his request to accommodate him. I have put my name to a
'Only to one?'
'Only to one; and then to that same renewed, or not exactly the
same, but to one which stands for it. The first was for four
hundred pounds; the last for five hundred.'
'All which you will have to make good, and the world will of course
tell you that you have paid that price for this stall at
Barchester.' This was terrible to be borne. He had heard much
lately which had frightened and scared him, but nothing so terrible
as this; nothing which so stunned him, or conveyed to his mind so
frightful a reality of misery and ruin. He made no immediate
answer, but standing on the hearth-rug with his back to the fire,
looked up the whole length of the room. Hitherto his eyes had been
fixed upon Lord Lufton's face, but now it seemed to him as though
he had but little more to do with Lord Lufton. Lord Lufton and
Lord Lufton's mother were neither to be counted among those who
wished him well. Upon whom indeed could he now count, except that
wife of his bosom upon whom he was bringing all this wretchedness?
In that moment of agony ideas ran quickly through his brain. He
would immediately abandon his preferment at Barchester, of which it
might be said with so much colour that he had bought it. He would
go to Harold Smith, and say positively that he declined it. Then
he would return home and tell his wife all that had occurred;--tell
the whole also to Lady Lufton, if that might still be of service.
He would make arrangement for the payment of both those bills as
they might be presented, asking no questions as to the justice of
the claim, making no complaint to any one, not even to Sowerby. He
would put half his income, if half were necessary, into the hands
of Forrest the banker, till all was paid. He would sell every
horse he had. He would part with his footman and groom, and at any
rate strive like a man to get again a firm footing on good ground.
Then, at that moment, he loathed with his whole soul the position
in which he had found himself placed, and his own folly which had
placed him there. How could he reconcile it to his conscience that
he was there in London with Sowerby and Harold Smith, petitioning
for Church preferment to a man who should have been altogether
powerless in such a matter, buying horses, and arranging about past
due bills? He did not reconcile it to his conscience. Mr Crawley
had been right when he told him that he was a castaway.
Lord Lufton whose anger during the whole interview had been
extreme, and who had become more angry the more he talked, had now
walked once or twice up and down the room; and as he so walked the
idea did occur to him that he had been unjust. He had come there
with the intention of exclaiming against Sowerby, and of inducing
Robarts to convey to that gentleman, that if he, Lord Lufton, were
made to undergo any further annoyance about this bill, the whole
affair should be thrown into the lawyer's hands; but instead of
doing this, he had brought an accusation against Robarts. That
Robarts had latterly become Sowerby's friend rather than his own in
all these horrid money dealings, had galled him; and now he had
expressed himself in terms much stronger than he had intended to
use. 'As to you personally, Mark,' he said, coming back to the
spot on which Robarts was standing, 'I do not wish to say anything
that shall annoy you.'
'You have said quite enough, Lufton.'
'You cannot be surprised that I should be angry and indignant at
the treatment I have received.'
'You might, I think, have separated in your mind those who have
wronged you, if there has been such wrong, from those who have only
endeavoured to do your will and pleasure for you. That I, as a
clergyman, have been very wrong in taking any part whatsoever in
these matters, I am well aware. That as a man I have been
outrageously foolish in lending my name to Mr Sowerby, I also know
well enough; it is, perhaps, as well that I should be told of this
somewhat rudely; but I certainly did not expect the lesson to come
'Well, there has been mischief enough. The question is, what we
had better now both do?'
'You have said what you mean to do. You will put the affair in the
hands of your lawyer.'
'Not with any object of exposing you.'
'Exposing me, Lord Lufton! Why, one would think that I had had the
handling of your money.'
'You will misunderstand me. I think no such thing. But do you not
know yourself that if legal steps be taken in this wretched affair,
your arrangements with Sowerby will be brought to light?'
'My arrangements with Sowerby will consist in paying or having to
pay, on his account, a large sum of money, for which I have never
had and shall never have any consideration whatever.'
'And what will be said about this stall at Barchester?'
'After the charge which you brought against me just now, I shall
decline to accept it.' At this moment three or four other
gentlemen entered the room, and the conversation between the two
friends was stopped. They still remained standing near the fire,
but for a few minutes neither of them said anything. Robarts was
waiting till Lord Lufton should go away, and Lord Lufton had not
yet said that which he had come to say. At last he spoke again,
almost in a whisper: 'I think it will be best to ask Sowerby to
come to my rooms to-morrow, and I think also that you should meet
'I do not see any necessity for my presence,' said Robarts. 'It
seems probable that I shall suffer enough for meddling with your
affairs, and I will do so no more.'
'Of course, I cannot make you come; but I think it will be only
just to Sowerby, and it will be a favour to me.' Robarts again
walked up and down the room for half a dozen times, trying to
resolve what it would most become him to do in the present
emergency. If his name were dragged before the courts;--if he
should be shown up in the public papers as having been engaged in
accommodation bills, that would certainly be ruinous to him. He
had already learned from Lord Lufton's innuendoes what he might
expect to hear as the public version of his share in these
transactions! And then his wife,--how would she bear such
exposure? 'I will meet Mr Sowerby at your rooms to-morrow, on one
condition,' he at last said.
'And what is that?'
'That I receive you positive assurance that I am not suspected by
you of having had any pecuniary interest whatever in any matters
with Mr Sowerby, either as concerns your affairs of those of
'I have never suspected you of any such thing. But I have thought
that you were compromised with him.'
'And so I am--I am liable for these bills. But you ought to have
known, and do know, that I have never received a shilling on
account of such liability. I have endeavoured to oblige a man whom
I regarded first as your friend, and then as my own; and this has
been the result.' Lord Lufton did at last give him the assurance
that he desired, as they sat with their heads together over one of
the coffee-room tables; and then Robarts promised that he would
postpone his return to Framley till the Saturday, so that he might
meet Sowerby at Lord Lufton's chambers in the Albany on the
following afternoon. As soon as this was arranged, Lord Lufton
took his leave and went his way.
After this poor Mark had a very uneasy night of it. It was clear
enough that Lord Lufton had thought, if he did not still think,
that the stall at Barchester was to be given as pecuniary
recompense in return for certain money accommodation to be afforded
by the nominee to the dispenser of this patronage. Nothing on
earth could be worse than this. In the first place it would be
simony; and then it would be simony beyond all description mean and
simoniacal. The very thought of it filled Mark's soul with horror
and dismay. It might be that Lord Lufton's suspicions were now at
rest; but others would think the same thing, and their suspicions
it would be impossible to allay; those others would consist of the
outer world, which is always eager to gloat over the detected vice
of a clergyman. And that wretched horse which he had purchased,
and the purchase of which should have prohibited him from saying
that nothing of value had accrued to him in these transactions with
Mr Sowerby! what was he to do about that? And then of late he had
been spending, and had continued to spend, more money than he could
afford. This very journey of his up to London would be most
imprudent, if it should become necessary for him to give up all
hope of holding the prebend. As to that he had made up his mind;
but then again he unmade it, as men always do in such troubles.
That line of conduct which he had laid down for himself in the
first moments of his indignation against Lord Lufton, by adopting
which he would have to encounter poverty, and ridicule, and
discomfort, the annihilation of his high hopes, and the ruin of his
ambition--that, he said to himself over and over again, would now
be the best for him. But it is so hard for us to give up our high
hopes, and willingly encounter poverty, ridicule and discomfort!
On the following morning, however, he boldly walked down to the
Petty Bag Office, determined to let Harold Smith know that he was
no longer desirous of the Barchester stall. He found his brother
there, still writing artistic notes to anxious peeresses on the
subject of Buggins's non-vacant situation; but the great man of the
place, the Lord Petty Bag himself, was not there. He might
probably look in when the House was beginning to sit, perhaps at
four or a little after; but he certainly would not be at the office
in the morning. The functions of the Lord Petty Bag he was no
doubt performing elsewhere. Perhaps he had carried his work home
with him--a practice which the world should know is not uncommon
with civil servants of exceeding zeal. Mark did think of opening
his heart to his brother, and of leaving a message with him. But
his courage failed him, or perhaps it might be more correct to say
that his prudence prevented him. It would be better for him, he
thought, to tell his wife before he told anyone else. So he merely
chatted with his brother for half an hour and then left him. The
day was very tedious till the hour came at which he was to attend
at Lord Lufton's rooms; but at last it did come, and just as the
clock struck he turned out of Piccadilly into Albany. As he was
going across the court before he entered the building, he was
greeted by a voice just behind him. 'As punctual as the big clock
on Barchester tower,' said Mr Sowerby. 'See what it is to have a
summons from a great man, Mr Prebendary.' He turned round and
extended his hand mechanically to Mr Sowerby, and as he looked at
him he thought he had never before seen him so pleasant in
appearance, so free from care, and so joyous in demeanour.
'You have heard from Lord Lufton,' said Mark, in a voice that was
certainly very lugubrious.
'Heard from him! oh, yes, of course I have heard from him. I'll
tell you what it is, Mark,' and he now spoke almost in a whisper as
they walked together along the Albany passage, 'Lufton is a child
in money matters--a perfect child. The dearest finest fellow in
the world, you know; but a perfect baby in money matters.' And
then they entered his lordship's rooms. Lord Lufton's countenance
also was lugubrious enough, but this did not in the least abash
Sowerby, who walked quickly up to the young lord with his gait
perfectly self-possessed and his face radiant with satisfaction.
'Well, Lufton, how are you?' said he. 'It seems that my worthy
friend Tozer has been giving you some trouble?' Then Lord Lufton
with a face by no means radiant with satisfaction again began the
story of Tozer's fraudulent demand upon him. Sowerby did not
interrupt him, but listened patiently to the end;--quite patiently,
although Lord Lufton, as he made himself more and more angry by the
history of his own wrongs, did not hesitate to pronounce certain
threats against Mr Sowerby, as he had pronounced them before Mark
Robarts. He would not, he said, pay a shilling, except through his
lawyer; and he would instruct his lawyer, that before he paid
anything, the whole matter should be exposed openly in court. He
did not care, he said, what might be the effect on himself or on
any one else. He was determined that the whole case should go to a
jury. 'To grand jury, and special jury, and common jury, and Old
Jewry, if you like,' said Sowerby. 'The truth is, Lufton, you lost
some money, and as there was some delay in paying it, you have been
'I have paid more that I lost three times over,' said Lord Lufton,
stamping his foot.
'I will not go into that question now. It was settled as I thought
some time ago by persons to whom you yourself referred it. But
will you tell me this: why on earth should Robarts be troubled in
this matter? What has he done?'
'Well, I don't know. He arranged the matter with you.'
'No such thing. He was kind enough to carry a message from you to
me, and to convey a return message from me to you. That has been
his part in it.'
'You don't suppose that I want to implicate him: do you?'
'I don't think you want to implicate any one, but you are
hot-headed and difficult to deal with, and very irrational into the
bargain. And, what is worse, I must say you are a little
suspicious. In all this matter I have harassed myself greatly to
oblige you, and in return I have got more kicks than halfpence.'
'Did you not give this bill to Tozer--the bill which he now holds?'
'In the first place he does not hold it; and in the next place I
did not give it to him. These things pass through scores of hands
before they reach the man who makes the application for payment.'
'And who came to me the other day?'
'That, I take it, was Tom Tozer, a brother of our Tozer's.'
'Then he holds the bill, for I saw it with him.'
'Wait a moment; that is very likely. I sent you word that you
would have to pay for taking it up. Of course they don't abandon
those sort of things without some consideration.'
'Ten pounds, you said,' observed Mark.
'Ten or twenty; some such sum as that. But you were hardly so soft
as to suppose that the man would ask for such a sum. Of course he
would demand the full payment. There is the bill, Lord Lufton,'
and Sowerby, producing a document, handed it across the table to
his lordship. 'I gave five-and-twenty pounds for it this morning.'
Lord Lufton took the paper and looked at it.
'Yes,' said he, 'that's the bill. What am I to do with it now?'
'Put it with the family archives,' said Sowerby,--'or behind the
fire, just which you please.'
'And this is the last of them? Can no other be brought up?'
'You know better than I do what paper you may have put your hand
to. A know of no other. At the last renewal that was the only
outstanding bill of which I was aware.'
'And you have paid five-and-twenty pounds for it?'
'I have. Only that you have been in such a tantrum about it, and
would have made such a noise this afternoon if I had not brought
it, I might have had it for fifteen or twenty. In three or four
days they would have taken fifteen.'
'The odd ten pounds does not signify, and I'll pay you the
twenty-five of course,' said Lord Lufton, who now began to feel a
little ashamed of himself.
'You may do as you please about that.'
'Oh! it's my affair, as a matter of course. Any amount of that
kind I don't mind,' and he sat down to fill in a cheque for the
'Well, now, Lufton, let me say a few words to you,' said Sowerby,
standing with his back against the fireplace, and playing with a
small cane which he held in his hand. 'For heaven's sake try and
be a little more charitable to those around you. When you become
fidgety about anything, you indulge in language which the world
won't stand, though men who know you as well as Robarts and I may
consent to put up with it. You have accused me, since I have been
here, of all manner of iniquity--'
'My dear fellow, let me have my say out. You have accused me, I
say, and I believe that you have accused him. But it has never
occurred to you, I dare say, to accuse yourself.'
'Indeed it has.'
'Of course you have been wrong in having to do with such men as
Tozer. I have also been very wrong. It wants no great moral
authority to tell us that. Pattern gentlemen don't have dealings
with Tozer, and very much the better they are for not having them.
But a man should have back enough to bear the weight which he
himself puts on it. Keep away from Tozer, if you can, for the
future; but if you do deal with him, for heaven's sake keep your
'That's all very fine, Sowerby; but you know as well as I do--'
'I know this,' said the devil, quoting Scripture, as he folded up
the cheque for twenty-five pounds, and put it in his pocket, 'that
when a man sows tares, he won't reap wheat, and it's no use to
expect it. I am tough in these matters, and can bear a great
deal--that is, if I be not pushed too far,' and he looked full into
Lord Lufton's face as he spoke; 'but I think you have been very
hard upon Robarts.'
'Never mind me, Sowerby; Lord Lufton and I are very old friends.'
'And may therefore take a liberty with each other. Very well. And
now I've done my sermon. My dear dignitary, allow me to
congratulate you. I hear from Fothergill that that little affair
of yours has been definitely settled.' Mark's face again became
clouded. 'I rather think,' said he, 'that I shall decline the
'Decline it!' said Sowerby, who, having used his utmost efforts to
obtain it, would have been more absolutely offended by such
vacillation on the vicar's part than by any personal abuse which
either he or Lord Lufton could heap upon him.
'I think I shall,' said Mark.
'And why?' Mark looked up at Lord Lufton, and then remained silent
for a moment.
'There can be no occasion for such a sacrifice under the present
circumstances,' said his lordship.
'And under what circumstances could there be occasion for it?'
asked Sowerby. 'The Duke of Omnium has used some little influence
to get the place for you as a parish clergyman belonging to his
county, and I should think it monstrous if you were to reject it.'
And then Robarts openly stated the whole reasons, explaining
exactly what Lord Lufton had said with reference to the bill
transactions, and to the allegation which would be made as to the
stall having been given in payment for the accommodation.
'Upon my word that's too bad,' said Sowerby.
'Now, Sowerby, I won't be lectured,' said Lord Lufton.
'I have done my lecture,' said he, aware, perhaps, that it would
not do for him to push his friend too far, 'and I shall not give a
second. But, Robarts, let me tell you this: as far as I know,
Harold Smith has had little or nothing to do with the appointment.
The duke has told the Prime Minister that he was very anxious that
a parish clergyman from the county should go to the chapter, and
then, at Lord Brock's request, he named you. If under those
circumstances you talk of giving it up, I shall believe you to be
insane. As for the bill which you accepted for me, you need have
no uneasiness about it. The money will be ready; but of course,
when that time comes, you will let me have the hundred and thirty
for--' And then Mr Sowerby took his leave, having certainly made
himself master of the occasion. If a man of fifty have his wits
about him, and be not too prosy, he can generally make himself
master of the occasion, when his companions are under thirty.
Robarts did not stay at the Albany long after him, but took his
leave, having received some assurances of Lord Lufton's regret for
what had passed and many promises of his friendship for the
future. Indeed Lord Lufton was a little ashamed of himself. 'And
as for the prebend, after what has passed, of course you must
accept it.' Nevertheless his lordship had not omitted to notice Mr
Sowerby's hint about the horse and the hundred and thirty pounds.
Robarts, as he walked back to his hotel, thought that he certainly
would accept the Barchester promotion, and was very glad that he
had said nothing on the subject to his brother. On the whole his
spirits were much raised. That assurance of Sowerby's about the
bill was very comforting to him; and, strange to say, he absolutely
believed it. In truth, Sowerby had been completely the winning
horse at the late meeting, that both Lord Lufton and Robarts were
inclined to believe almost anything he said;--which was not always
the case with either of them.
HAROLD SMITH IN CABINET
For a few days the whole Harold Smith party held their heads very
high. It was not only that their man had been made a Cabinet
minister; but a rumour had got abroad that Lord Brock, in selecting
him, had amazingly strengthened his party, and done much to cure
the wounds which his own arrogance and lack of judgement had
inflicted on the body politic of his Government. So said the
Harold-Smithians, much elated. And when we consider what Harold
had himself achieved, we need not be surprised that he himself was
somewhat elated also. It must be a proud day for any man when he
first walks into a Cabinet. But when a humble-minded man thinks of
such a phase of life, his mind becomes lost in wondering what a
Cabinet is. Are they gods that attend there or men? Do they sit
on chairs, or hang about on clouds? When they speak, is the music
of the spheres audible in their Olympian mansion, making heaven
drowsy with its harmony? In what way do they congregate? In what
order do they address each other? Are the voices of all the
deities free and equal? If plodding Themis from the Home
Department, or Ceres from the Colonies, heard with as rapt
attention as powerful Pallas of the Foreign Office, the goddess
that is never seen without her lance and helmet? Does our
Whitehall Mars make eyes there at bright young Venus of the Privy
Seal, disgusting that quaint tinkering Vulcan, who is blowing his
bellows at our Exchequer, not altogether unsuccessfully? Old
Saturn of the Woolsack sits there mute, we will say, a relic of
other days, as seated in this divan. The hall in which he rules is
now elsewhere. Is our Mercury of the Post Office ever ready to fly
nimbly from globe to globe, as great Jove may order him, while
Neptune, unaccustomed to the waves, offers needful assistance to
the Apollo of the India Board? How Juno sits apart, glum and huffy,
uncared for, Council President though she be, great in name, but
despised among gods--that we can guess. If Bacchus and Cupid share
Trade and the Board of Words between them, the fitness of things
will have been as fully consulted as is usual. And modest Diana of
the Petty Bag, latest summoned to these banquets of ambrosia,--does
she not cling retiring near the doors, hardly able as yet to make
her low voice heard among her brother deities? But Jove, great
Jove--old Jove, the King of Olympus, hero among gods and men, how
does he carry himself in these councils summoned by his voice? Does
he lie there at his ease, with his purple cloak cut from the
firmament round his shoulders? Is his thunderbolt ever at his hand
to reduce a recreant god to order? Can he proclaim silence in that
immortal hall? Is it not there, as elsewhere, in all places, and
among all nations, that a king of gods and a king of men is and
will be king, rules and will rule, over those who are smaller than
Harold Smith, when he was summoned to the august hall of divine
councils, did feel himself to be a proud man; but we may perhaps
conclude that at the first meeting or two he did not attempt to
take a very leading part. Some of my readers may have sat at
vestries, and will remember how mild, and, for the most part, mute
is a new-comer at their board. He agrees generally, with abated
enthusiasm; but should he differ, he apologizes for the liberty.
But anon, when the voices of his colleagues have become habitual in
his ears--when the strangeness of the room is gone, and the table
before him is known and trusted--he throws off his awe and dismay,
and electrifies his brotherhood by the vehemence of his declamation
and the violence of his thumping. So let us suppose it will be
with Harold Smith, perhaps in the second or third season of his
Cabinet practice. Alas! alas! that such pleasures should be so
fleeting! And then, too, there came upon him a blow which somewhat
modified his triumph--a cruel, dastard blow, from a hand which
should have been friendly to him, from one to whom he had fondly
looked to buoy him up in the great course that was before him. It
had been said by his friends that in obtaining Harold Smith's
services the Prime Minister had infused new young healthy blood
into his body. Harold himself had liked the phrase, and had seen
at a glance how it might have been made to tell by some friendly
Supplehouse or the like. But why should a Supplehouse out of
Elysium be friendly to a Harold Smith within it? Men lapped in
Elysium, steeped to the neck in bliss, must expect to see their
friends fall off from them. Human nature cannot stand it. If I
want to get anything from my old friend Jones, I like to see him
shoved up into a high place. But if Jones, even in his high place,
can do nothing for me, then his exaltation above my head is an
insult and an injury. Who ever believes his own dear intimate
companion to be fit for the highest promotion? Mr Supplehouse had
known Mr Smith too closely to think much of his young blood.
Consequently, there appeared an article in the Jupiter, which was
by no means complimentary to the ministry in general. It harped a
good deal on the young-blood view of the question, and seemed to
insinuate that Harold Smith was not much better than diluted
water. 'The Prime Minister,' the article said, 'having lately
recruited his impaired vigour by a new infusion of aristocratic
influence of the highest moral tone, had again added to himself
another tower of strength chosen from among the people. What might
he not hope, now that he possessed the services of Lord Brittleback
and Mr Harold Smith! Revoted in a Medea's cauldron of such
potency, all his effete limbs--and it must be acknowledged that
some of them had become very effete--would come forth young and
round and robust. A new energy would diffuse itself through every
department; India would be saved and quieted; the ambition of
France would be tamed; evenhanded reform would remodel our courts
of law and parliamentary elections; and Utopia would be realized.
Such, it seems, is the result expected in the ministry from Mr
Harold Smith's young blood!'
This was cruel enough, but even this was hardly so cruel as the
words with which the article ended. By that time irony had been
dropped, and the writer spoke out earnestly his opinion on the
matter. 'We beg to assure Lord Brock,' said the article, 'that
such alliances as these will not save him from the speedy fall with
which his arrogance and want of judgement threaten to overwhelm
it. As regards himself we shall be sorry to hear of his
resignation. He is in many respects the best statesman that we
possess for the emergencies of the present period. But if he be so
ill-judged as to rest on such men as Mr Harold Smith and Lord
Brittleback for his assistants in the work which is before him, he
must not expect that the country will support him. Mr Harold Smith
is not made of the stuff from which Cabinet ministers should be
formed.' Mr Harold Smith, as he read this, seated at his
breakfast-table, recognized, or said that he recognized, the hand
of Mr Supplehouse in every touch. That phrase about the effete
limbs was Supplehouse all over, as was also the realization of
Utopia. 'When he wants to be witty, he always talks about Utopia,'
said Mr Harold Smith--to himself: for Mrs Harold Smith was not
usually present in the flesh at these matutinal meals. And then he
went down to his office, and saw in the glance of every man that he
met an announcement that that article in the Jupiter had been read.
His private secretary tittered in evident allusion to the article,
and the way in which Buggins took his coat made it clear that it
was well known in the messengers' lobby. 'He won't have to fill up
my vacancy when I go,' Buggins was saying to himself. And then in
the course of the morning came the Cabinet council, the second that
he had attended, and he read in the countenance of every god and
goddess there assembled that their chief was thought to have made
another mistake. If Mr Supplehouse could have been induced to
write in another strain, then indeed that new blood might have been
felt to have been efficacious.
All this was a great drawback to his happiness, but still it could
not rob him of the fact of his position. Lord Brock could not ask
him to resign because the Jupiter had been written against him; nor
was Lord Brock the man to desert a new colleague for such a
reason. So Harold Smith girded his loins, and went about his
duties of the Petty Bag with a new zeal. 'Upon my word, the
Jupiter is right,' said young Robarts to himself, as he finished
his fourth dozen of private notes explanatory of everything in and
about the Petty Bag Office. Harold Smith required that his private
secretary's notes should be so terribly precise. But nevertheless,
in spite of his drawbacks, Harold Smith was happy in his new
honours, and Mrs Harold Smith enjoyed them also. She certainly,
among her acquaintances, did quiz the new Cabinet minister not a
little, and it may be a question whether she was not as hard upon
him as the writer in the Jupiter. She whispered a great deal to
Miss Dunstable about new blood, and talked of going down to
Westminster Bridge to see whether the Thames were really on fire.
But though she laughed, she triumphed, and though she flattered
herself that she bore her honours without any outward sign, the
world knew that she was triumphing, and ridiculed her elation.
About this time she also gave a party--not a pure-minded
conversazione like Mrs Proudie, but a downright wicked worldly
dance, at which there were fiddles, ices, and champagne sufficient
to run away with the first quarter's salary accruing to Harold
Smith from the Petty Bag Office. To us this ball is chiefly
memorable from the fact that Lady Lufton was among the guests.
Immediately on her arrival in town she received cards from Mrs H
Smith for herself and Griselda, and was about to send back a reply
at once declining the honour. What had she to do at the house of
Mr Sowerby's sister? But it so happened that at that moment her
son was with her, and as he expressed a wish that she should go,
she yielded. Had there been nothing in his tone of persuasion more
than ordinary,--had it merely had reference to herself--she would
have smiled on him for his kind solicitude, have made out some
occasion for kissing his forehead as she thanked him, and would
still have declined. But he had reminded her both of himself and
Griselda. 'You might as well go, mother, for the sake of meeting
me,' he said; 'Mrs Harold Smith caught me the other day, and would
not liberate me till I had given her a promise.'
'That is an attraction, certainly,' said Lady Lufton. 'I do like
going to a house when I know that you will be there.'
'And now that Miss Grantly is with you--you owe it to her to do the
best you can for her.'
'I certainly do, Ludovic; and I have to thank you for reminding me
of my duty so gallantly.' And so she said that she would go to Mrs
Harold Smith's. Poor lady! She gave much more weight to those few
words about Miss Grantly than they deserved. It rejoiced her heart
to think that her son was anxious to meet Griselda--that he should
perpetrate this little ruse in order to gain his wish. But he had
spoken out of the mere emptiness of his mind, without thought of
what he was saying, excepting that he wished to please his mother.
But nevertheless he went to Mrs Harold Smith's, and when there he
did dance more than once with Griselda Grantly--to the manifest
discomfiture of Lord Dumbello. He came in late, and at the moment
Lord Dumbello was moving slowly up the room, with Griselda on his
arm, while Lady Lufton was sitting near looking on with unhappy
eyes. And then Griselda sat down, with Lord Dumbello stood mute at
'Ludovic,' whispered his mother, 'Griselda is absolutely bored by
that man, who follows like a ghost. Do go and rescue her.' He did
go and rescue her, and afterwards danced with her for the best part
of an hour consequently. He knew that the world gave Lord Dumbello
the credit of admiring the young lady, and was quite alive to the
pleasure of filling his brother nobleman's heart with jealousy and
anger. Moreover, Griselda was in his eyes very beautiful, and had
she been one whit more animated, or had his mother's tactics been but
a thought better concealed, Griselda might have been asked that
night to share the vacant throne at Lufton, in spite of all that
had been said and sworn in the drawing-room of Framley parsonage.
It must be remembered that our gallant, gay Lothario had passed
some considerable number of days with Miss Grantly in his mother's
house, and the danger of such contiguity must be remembered also.
Lord Lufton was by no means a man capable of seeing beauty unmoved
or of spending hours with a young lady without some approach to
tenderness. Had there been no such approach it is probable that Lady
Lufton would not have pursued the matter. But, according to her
ideas on such subjects, her son Ludovic had on some occasions shown
quite sufficient partiality for Miss Grantly to justify her in her
hopes, and to lead her to think that nothing but opportunity was
wanted. Now, at this ball of Mrs Smith's, he did, for a while,
seem to be taking advantage of such opportunity, and his mother's
heart was glad. If things should turn out well on this evening she
would forgive Mrs Harold Smith all her sins. And for a while it
looked as though things would turn out well. Not that it must be
supposed that Lord Lufton had come there with any intention of
making love to Griselda, or that he ever had any fixed thought that
he was doing so. Young men in such matters are so often without
any fixed thoughts! They are such absolute moths. They amuse
themselves with the light of the beautiful candle, fluttering
about, on and off, in and out of the flame with dazzled eyes, till
in a rash moment they rush in too near the wick, and then fall with
singed wings and crippled legs, burnt up and reduced to tinder by
the consuming fire of matrimony. Happy marriages, men say, are
made in heaven, and I believe it. Most marriages are fairly happy,
in spite of Sir Cresswell Cresswell; and yet how little care is
taken on earth towards such a result!---'I hope my mother is using
you well?' said Lord Lufton to Griselda, as they were standing
together in a doorway between the dances.
'Oh, yes; she is very kind.'
'You have been rash to trust yourself in the hands of so very staid
and demure a person. And, indeed, you owe your presence to Mrs
Harold Smith's first Cabinet ball altogether to me. I don't know
whether you are aware of that.'
'Oh, yes; Lady Lufton told me.'
'And are you grateful or otherwise? Have I done you an injury or a
benefit? Which do you find best, sitting with a novel in the
corner of a sofa in Bruton Street, or pretending to dance polkas
here with Lord Dumbello?'
'I don't know what you mean. I haven't stood up with Lord Dumbello
all the evening. We were going to dance a quadrille, but we
'Exactly; just what I say;--pretending to do it. Even that's a
good deal for Lord Dumbello, isn't it?' And then Lord Lufton, not
being a pretender himself, put his arm round her waist, and away
they went up and down the room, and across and about, with an
energy which showed that what Griselda lacked in her tongue, she
made up with her feet. Lord Dumbello, in the meantime, stood by,
observant, thinking to himself that Lord Lufton was a glib-tongued,
empty-headed ass, and reflecting that if his rival were to break
the tendons of his leg in one of those rapid evolutions, or
suddenly come by any other dreadful misfortune, such as the loss of
all his property, absolute blindness, or chronic lumbago, it would
only serve him right. And in that frame of mind he went to bed, in
spite of the prayer which no doubt he said as to his forgiveness of
other people's trespasses. And then, when they were again
standing, Lord Lufton, in the little intervals between his violent
gasps for fresh breath, asked Griselda if she liked London. 'Pretty
well,' said Griselda, gasping also a little herself.
'I am afraid--you were very dull--down at Framley.'
'Oh, no;--I liked it particularly.'
'It was a great bore when you went--away, I know. There wasn't a
soul--about the house worth speaking to.' And they remained silent
for a minute till their lungs had become quiescent.
'Not a soul,' he continued--not of falsehood prepense, for he
was not in fact thinking of what he was saying. It did not occur
to him at the moment that he had truly found Griselda's going a
great relief, and that he had been able to do more in the way of
conversation with Lucy Robarts in one hour than with Miss Grantly
during a month of intercourse in the same house. But,
nevertheless, we should not be hard upon him. All is fair in love
and war; and if this was not love, it was the usual thing that
stands in counterpart for it.
'Not a soul,' said Lord Lufton. 'I was very nearly hanging myself
in the Park next morning--only it rained.'
'What nonsense! You had your mother to talk to.'
'Oh, my mother,--yes; and you may tell me too, if you please, that
Captain Culpepper was there. I do love my mother dearly; but do
you think that she could make up for your absence?' And then his
voice was very tender, and so were his eyes.
'And Miss Robarts; I thought you admired her very much?'
'What, Lucy Robarts?' said Lord Lufton, feeling that Lucy's name
was more than he at present knew how to manage. Indeed that name
destroyed all the life there was in that little flirtation. 'I do
like Lucy Robarts, certainly. She is very clever; but it so
happened that I saw little or nothing of her after you were gone.'
To this Griselda made no answer, but drew herself up, and looked as
cold as Diana when she froze Orion in the cave. Nor could she be
got to give more then monosyllabic answers to the three or four
succeeding attempts at conversation which Lord Lufton made. And
then they danced again, but Griselda's steps were by no means so
lively as before. What took place between them on that occasion
was very little more than what has been here related. There may
have been an ice or a glass of lemonade into the bargain, and
perhaps the faintest possible attempt at hand-pressing. But if so,
it was all on one side. To such overtures as that Griselda Grantly
was as cold as any Diana. But little as all this was, it was
sufficient to fill Lady Lufton's mind and heart. No mother with
six daughters was ever more anxious to get them off her hands, than
Lady Lufton was to see her son married,--married, that is, to some
girl of the right sort. And now it really did seem as though he
were actually going to comply with her wishes. She had watched him
during the whole evening, painfully endeavouring not to be observed
in doing so. She had seen Lord Dumbello's failure and wrath, and
she had seen her son's victory and pride. Could it be the case that
he had already said something, which was still allowed to be
indecisive only through Griselda's coldness? Might it not be the
case, that by some judicious aid on her part, that indecision might
be turned into certainty, and that coldness into warmth? But then
any such interference requires so delicate a touch,--as Lady Lufton
was well aware.--'Have you had a pleasant evening?' Lady Lufton
said, when she and Griselda were seated together with their feet on
the fender of her ladyship's dressing-room. Lady Lufton had
especially invited her guest into this, her most private sanctum,
to which as a rule none had admittance but her daughter, and
sometimes Fanny Robarts. But to what sanctum might not such a
daughter-in-law as Griselda have admittance? 'Oh, yes--very,' said
'It seemed to me that you bestowed most of your smiles upon
Ludovic.' And Lady Lufton put on a look of good pleasure that such
should have been the case.
'Oh! I don't know,' said Griselda; 'I did dance with him two or
'Not once too often to please me, my dear. I like to see Ludovic
dancing with my friends.'
'I am sure I am very much obliged to you, Lady Lufton.'
'Not at all, my dear. I don't know where he could get so nice a
partner.' And then she paused a moment, not feeling how far she
might go. In the meantime Griselda sat still, staring at the hot
coals. 'Indeed, I know that he admires you very much,' continued
Lady Lufton.--'Oh! no, I am sure he doesn't,' said Griselda; and
then there was another pause.
'I can only say this,' said Lady Lufton, 'that if he does do
so--and I believe he does--it would give me very great pleasure.
For you know, my dear, that I am very fond of you myself.'
'Oh! thank you,' said Griselda, and stared at the coals more
perseveringly than before.
'He is a young man of a most excellent disposition--though he is my
own son, I will say that--and if there should be anything between
you and him--'
'There isn't, indeed, Lady Lufton.'
'But if there should be, I should be delighted to think that
Ludovic had made so good a choice.'
'But there will never be anything of the sort, I'm sure, Lady
Lufton. He is not thinking of such a thing in the least.'
'Well, perhaps he may, some day. And now, good night, my dear.'
'Good night, Lady Lufton.' And Griselda kissed with the utmost
composure, and betook herself to her own bedroom. Before she
retired to sleep she looked carefully to her different articles of
dress, discovering what amount of damage the evening's wear and
tear might have inflicted.
WHY PUCK, THE PONY, WAS BEATEN
Mark Robarts returned home the day after the scene at the Albany,
considerably relieved in spirit. He now felt that he might accept
the stall without discredit to himself as a clergyman in doing so.
Indeed, after what Mr Sowerby had said, and after Lord Lufton's
assent to it, it would have been madness, he considered, to decline
it. And then, too, Mr Sowerby's promise about the bills was very
comfortable to him. After all, might it not be possible that he
might get rid of all these troubles with no other drawback than
that of having to pay L 130 for a horse that was well worth the
On the day after his return he received proper authentic tidings of
his presentation to the prebend. He was, in fact, already
prebendary, or would be as soon as the dean and chapter had gone
through the form of instituting him in his stall. The income was
already his own; and the house also would be given up to him in a
week's time--a part of the arrangement with which he would most
willingly have dispensed had it been at all possible to do. His
wife congratulated him nicely, with open affection, and apparent
satisfaction at the arrangement. The enjoyment of one's own
happiness at such windfalls depends so much on the free and freely
expressed enjoyment of others! Lady Lufton's congratulations had
nearly made him throw up the whole thing; but his wife's smiles
re-encouraged him; and Lucy's warm and eager joy made him feel
quite delighted with Mr Sowerby and the Duke of Omnium. And then
that splendid animal, Dandy, came home to the parsonage stables,
much to the delight of the groom and gardener, and of the assistant
stable boy who had been allowed to creep into the establishment,
unawares, as it were, since 'master' had taken so keenly to
hunting. But this satisfaction was not shared in the
drawing-room. The horse was seen on his first journey round to the
stable gate, and questions were immediately asked. It was a horse,
Mark said, 'which he had bought from Mr Sowerby some little time
since, with the object of obliging him. He, Mark, intended to see
him again, as soon as he could do so judiciously.' This, as I have
said above was not satisfactory. Neither of the two ladies at
Framley parsonage knew much about horses, or of the manner in which
one gentleman might think it proper to oblige another by purchasing
the superfluities of his stable; but they did both feel that there
were horses enough in the parsonage stable without Dandy, and that
the purchasing of a hunter with a view of immediately selling him
again, was, to say the least of it, an operation hardly congenial
with the usual tastes and pursuits of a clergyman. 'I hope you did
not give very much money for him, Mark,' said Fanny.
'Not more than I shall get again,' said Mark; and Fanny saw from
the form of his countenance that she had better not pursue the
subject any further at that moment.
'I suppose I shall have to go into residence almost immediately,'
said Mark, recurring to the more agreeable subject of the stall.
'And shall we all have to go and live at Barchester at once?' asked
'The house will not be furnished, will it, Mark?' said his wife. 'I
don't know how we shall get on.'
'Don't frighten yourselves. I shall take lodgings in Barchester.'
'And we shall not see you all the time,' said Mrs Robarts with
dismay. But the prebendary explained that he would be backwards
and forwards at Framley every week, and that in all probability he
would only sleep at Barchester on the Saturdays, and Sundays--and,
perhaps, not always then.
'It does not seem very hard work, that of a prebendary,' said Lucy.
'But it is very dignified,' said Fanny. 'Prebendaries are
dignitaries of the Church--are they not, Mark?'
'Decidedly,' said he; 'and their wives also, by special canon law.
The worst of it is that both of them are obliged to wear wigs.'
'Shall you have a hat, Mark, with curly things at the side, and
strings through to hold them up?' asked Lucy.
'I fear that does not come within my perquisites.'
'Nor a rosette? Then I shall never believe that you are a
dignitary. Do you mean to say that you will wear a hat like a
common parson--like Mr Crawley, for instance?'
'Well--I believe I may give a twist to the leaf; but I am by no
means sure till I shall have consulted the dean in chapter.'
And thus at the parsonage they talked over the good things that
were coming to them, and endeavoured to forget the new horse, and
the hunting boots that had been used so often during the last
winter, and Lady Lufton's altered countenance. It might be that
the evils would vanish away, and the good things alone remain to
them. It was now the month of April, and the fields were beginning
to look green, and the wind had got itself out of the east and was
soft and genial, and the early spring flowers were showing their
bright colours in the parsonage garden, and all things were sweet
and pleasant. This was a period of the year that was usually dear
to Mrs Robarts. Her husband was always a better parson when the
warm months came than he had been during the winter. The distant
county friends whom she did not know and of whom she did not
approve, went away when the spring came, leaving their houses
innocent and empty. The parish duty was better attended to, and
perhaps domestic duties also. At such period he was a pattern
parson and a pattern husband, atoning to his own conscience for
past shortcomings by present zeal. And then, though she had never
acknowledged it to herself, the absence of her dear friend Lady
Lufton was perhaps in itself not disagreeable. Mrs Robarts did
love Lady Lufton heartily; but it must be acknowledged of her
ladyship, that with all her good qualities, she was inclined to be
masterful. She liked to rule, and she made people feel that she
liked it. Mrs Robarts would never have confessed that she laboured
under a sense of thraldom; but perhaps she was mouse enough to
enjoy the temporary absence of her kind-hearted cat. When Lady
Lufton was away Mrs Robarts herself had more play in the
parish. And Mark also was not unhappy, though he did not find it
practicable immediately to turn Dandy into money. Indeed, just at
this moment, when he was a good deal over at Barchester, going
through those deep mysteries before a clergyman can become one of
the chapter, Dandy was rather a thorn in his side. Those wretched
bills were to come due early in May, and before the end of April
Sowerby wrote to him saying that he was doing his utmost to provide
for the evil day; but that if the price of Dandy could be remitted
to him at once, it would greatly facilitate his object. Nothing
could be more different than Mr Sowerby's tone about money at
different times. When he wanted to raise the wind, everything was
so important; haste and superhuman efforts and men running to and
fro with blank acceptances in their hands, could alone stave off
the crack of doom; but at other times, when retaliatory
applications were made to him, he could prove with the easiest
voice and most jaunty manner that everything was quite serene. Now,
at this period, he was in that mood of superhuman efforts, and he
called loudly for the hundred and thirty pounds for Dandy. After
what had passed, Mark could not bring himself to say that he would
pay nothing till the bills were safe; and therefore with the
assistance of Mr Forrest of the Bank, he did remit the price of
Dandy to his friend Sowerby in London.
And Lucy Robarts--we must now say a word of her. We have seen how,
on that occasion, when the world was at her feet, she had sent her
noble suitor away, not only dismissed, but so dismissed that he
might be taught never again to offer to her the sweet incense of
his vows. She had declared to him plainly that she did not love
him and could not love him, and had thus thrown away not only
riches and honour and high station, but more than that--much worse
than that--she had flung away from her the lover to whose love her
warm heart clung. That her love did cling to him, she knew even
then, and owned more thoroughly as soon as he was gone. So much of
her pride had done for her, and that strong resolve that Lady
Lufton should not scowl on her and tell her that she had entrapped
her son. I know it will be said of Lord Lufton himself that,
putting aside his peerage and broad acres, and handsome, sonsy
face, he was not worth a girl's care and love. That will be said
because people think that heroes in books should be so much better
than heroes got up for the world's common wear and tear. I may as
well confess that of absolute, true heroism there was only a
moderate admixture in Lord Lufton's composition; but what would the
world come to if none but absolute true heroes were to be thought
worthy of woman's love? What would the men do? Lucy Robarts in
her heart did not give her dismissed lover credit for much more
heroism than did truly appertain to him;--did not, perhaps, give
him full credit for a certain amount of heroism which did really
appertain to him; but, nevertheless, she would have been very glad
to take him could she have done so without wounding her pride.
That girls should not marry for money we are all agreed. A lady
who can sell herself for a title or an estate, for an income or a
set of family diamonds, treats herself as a farmer treats his sheep
and oxen--makes hardly more of herself, of her own inner self, in
which are comprised a mind and soul, than the poor wretch of her
own sex who earns her bread in the lowest stage of degradation. But
a title, and an estate, and an income, are matters which will weigh
in the balance with all Eve's daughters--as they do with all Adam's
sons. Pride of place, and the power of living well in front of the
world's eye, are dear to us all;--are, doubtless, intended to be
dear. Only in acknowledging so much, let us remember that there
are prices at which these good things may be too costly. Therefore,
being desirous, too, of telling the truth in this matter, I must
confess that Lucy did speculate with some regret on what it would
have been to be Lady Lufton. To have been the wife of such a man,
the owner of such a heart, the mistress of such a destiny--what
more or what better could the world have done for her? And now she
had thrown all that aside because she would not endure that Lady
Lufton should call her a scheming, artful girl! Actuated by that
fear she had repulsed him with a falsehood, though the matter was
one on which it was so terribly expedient that she should tell the
truth. And yet she was cheerful with her brother and
sister-in-law. It was when she was quite alone, at night in her
own room, or in her solitary walks, that a single silent tear would
gather in the corner of her eye and gradually moisten her eyelids.
'She never told her love,' nor did she allow concealment to 'feed
on her damask cheek'. In all her employments, in her ways about
the house, and her accustomed quiet mirth, she was the same as
ever. In this she showed the peculiar strength which God had given
her. But not the less did she in truth mourn for her lost love and
spoiled ambition. 'We are going to drive over to Hogglestock this
morning,' Fanny said one day at breakfast. 'I suppose, Mark, you
won't go with me?'
'Well, no; I think not. The pony carriage is wretched for three.'
'Oh, as for that, I should have thought the new horse might have
been able to carry you as far as that. I heard you say you wanted
to see Mr Crawley.'
'So I do; and the new horse, as you call him, shall carry me there
to-morrow. Will you say that I'll be over about twelve o'clock?'
'You had better say earlier, as he is always out about the parish.'
'Very well, say eleven. It is parish business about which I am
going, so it need not irk his conscience to stay in for me.'
'Well, Lucy, we must drive ourselves, that's all. You shall be
charioteer going, and then we'll change coming back.' To all which
Lucy agreed, and as soon as their work in the school was over they
started. Not a word had been spoken between them about Lord Lufton
since that evening, now more than a month ago, on which they had
been walking together in the garden. Lucy had so demeaned herself
on that occasion to make her sister-in-law quite sure that there
had been no love passages up to that time; and nothing had since
occurred which had created any suspicion in Mrs Robarts's mind. She
had seen at once that all the close intimacy between them was over,
and thought that everything was as it should be.
'Do you know, I have an idea,' she said in the pony carriage that
day, 'that Lord Lufton will marry Griselda Grantly.' Lucy could not
refrain from giving a little check at the reins which she was
holding, and she felt that the blood rushed quickly to her heart.
But she did not betray herself. 'Perhaps he may,' she said, and
then gave the pony a little touch with her whip.
'Oh, Lucy, I won't have Puck beaten. He was going very nicely.'
'I beg Puck's pardon. But you see when one is trusted with a whip
one feels such a longing to use it.'
'Oh, but you should keep it still. I feel almost certain that Lady
Lufton would like such a match.'
'I dare say she might. Miss Grantly will have a large fortune, I
'It is not that altogether: but she is the sort of young lady that
Lady Lufton likes. She is ladylike and very beautiful--'
'I really think she is; not what I would call lovely, you know, but
very beautiful. And then she is quiet and reserved; she does not
require excitement, and I am sure is conscientious in the
performance of her duties.'
'Very conscientious, I have no doubt,' said Lucy, with something
like a sneer in her tone. 'But the question, I suppose, is,
whether, Lord Lufton likes her.'
'I think he does,--in a sort of way. He did not talk to her so
much as he did to you--'
'Ah! that was all Lady Lufton's fault, because she didn't have him
'There does not seem to have been much harm done?'
'Oh! by God's mercy, very little. As for me, I shall get over it
in three or four years I don't doubt--that's if I can get ass's
milk and a change of air.'
'We'll take you to Barchester for that. But as I was saying, I really
do think that Lord Lufton likes Griselda Grantly.'
'Then I really do think that he has uncommon bad taste,' said Lucy,
with a reality in her voice differing much from the tone of banter
she had hitherto used.
'What, Lucy!' said her sister-in-law, looking at her. 'Then I fear
we shall really want the ass's milk.'
'Perhaps, considering my position, I ought to know nothing of Lord
Lufton, for you say that it is very dangerous for young ladies to
know young gentlemen. But I do know enough of him to understand
that he ought not to like such a girl as Griselda Grantly. He
ought to know that she is a mere automaton, cold, lifeless,
spiritless, and even vapid. There is, I believe, nothing in her
mentally, whatever may be her moral excellences. To me she is more
absolutely like a statue than any other human being I ever saw. To
sit still and be admired is all that she desires; and if she cannot
get that, to sit still and not be admired would almost suffice for
her. I do not worship Lady Lufton as you do; but I think quite
well enough of her to wonder that she could choose such a girl as
that for her son's wife. That she does wish it I do not doubt. But
I shall indeed be surprised if he wishes it also.' And then as she
finished her speech, Lucy again flogged the pony. This she did in
vexation, because she felt that the tell-tale blood had suffused
'Why, Lucy, if he were your brother you could not be more eager
'No, I could not. He is the only man friend with whom I was ever
intimate, and I cannot bear to think that he should throw himself
away. It's horridly improper to care about such a thing, I have no
'I think we might acknowledge that if he and his mother are both
satisfied, we may be satisfied also.'
'I shall not be satisfied. It's no use your looking at me, Fanny.
You will make me talk of it, and I won't tell a lie on the
subject. I do like Lord Lufton very much; and I do dislike
Griselda Grantly almost as much. Therefore I shall not be
satisfied if they become man and wife. However, I do not suppose
that either of them will ask my consent; nor is it probable that
Lady Lufton will do so.' And then they went on for perhaps a
quarter of a mile without speaking.
'Poor Puck!' Lucy at last said. 'He shan't be whipped any more,
shall he, because Miss Grantly looks like a statue? And, Fanny,
don't tell Mark to put me into a lunatic asylum. I also know a
hawk from a heron, and that's why I don't like to see such a very
unfitting marriage.' There was then nothing more said on the
subject, and in two minutes they arrived at the house of the
Hogglestock clergyman. Mrs Crawley had brought two of the children
with her when she came from the Cornish curacy to Hogglestock, and
two other babies had been added to her cares since then. One of
these was now ill with croup, and it was with the object of
offering to the mother some comfort and solace, that the present
visit was made. The two ladies got down from their carriage,
having obtained the services of a boy to hold Puck, and soon found
themselves in Mrs Crawley's single sitting-room. She was sitting
there with her foot on the board of a child's cradle, rocking it,
while an infant about three months old was lying in her lap. For
the elder one, who was the sufferer, had in her illness usurped the
baby's place. Two other children, considerably older, were also in
the room. The eldest was a girl perhaps nine years of age, and the
other a boy three years her junior. These were standing at their
father's elbow, who was studiously endeavouring to initiate them in
the early mysteries of grammar. To tell the truth, Mrs Robarts
would much preferred that Mr Crawley had not been there, for she
had with her and about her certain contraband articles, presents
for the children, as they were to be called, but in truth relief
for that poor, much-tasked mother, which they knew it would be
impossible to introduce in Mr Crawley's presence. She, as we have
said, was not quite so gaunt, not altogether so haggard as in the
latter of those dreadful Cornish days. Lady Lufton and Mrs Arabin
between them, and the scanty comfort of their improved, though
still wretched, income, had done something towards bringing her
back to the world in which she had lived in the soft days of her
childhood. But even the liberal stipend of a hundred and thirty
pounds a year--liberal according to the scale by which the incomes
of clergymen in our new districts are now apportioned--would not
admit of a gentleman with his wife and four children living with
the ordinary comforts of an artisan's family. As regards the mere
eating and drinking, the amount of butcher's meat and tea and
butter, they of course were used in quantities which any artisan
would have regarded as compatible only with demi-starvation.
Better clothing for her children was necessary, and better clothing
for him. As for her own raiment, the wives of artisans would have
been content to put up with Mrs Crawley's best gown. The stuff of
which it was made had been paid for by her mother when she with
much difficulty bestowed upon her daughter her modest wedding
Lucy had never seen Mrs Crawley. These visits to Hogglestock were
not frequent, and had generally been made by Lady Lufton and Mrs
Robarts together. It was known that they were distasteful to Mr
Crawley, who felt a savage satisfaction in being left to himself.
It may almost be said of him that he felt angry with those who
relieved him, and he had certainly never as yet forgiven the Dean
of Barchester for paying his debts. The dean had also given him
his present living; and consequently his old friend was not now so
dear to him as when in old days he could come down to that
farm-house, almost as penniless as the curate himself. Then they
would walk together for hours along the rock-bound shore, listening
to the waves, discussing deep polemical mysteries, sometimes with
hot fury, then again with tender, loving charity, but always with a
mutual acknowledgement of each other's truth. Now they lived
comparatively near together, but no opportunities arose for such
discussions. At any rate once a quarter Mr Crawley was pressed by
his old friend to visit him at the deanery, and Dr Arabin had
promised that no one else should be in the house if Mr Crawley
objected to society. But this was not what he wanted. The finery
and grandeur of the deanery, the comfort of that warm, snug,
library, would silence him at once. Why did not Dr Arabin come out
there to Hogglestock, and tramp with him through the dirty lanes as
they used to tramp? Then he could have enjoyed himself; then he
could have talked; then old days would have come back to them. But
now!--'Arabin always rides on a sleek, fine horse, nowadays,' he
once said to his wife with a sneer. His poverty had been so
terrible to himself that it was not in his heart to love a rich
At the end of the last chapter, we left Lucy Robarts waiting for an
introduction to Mrs Crawley, who was sitting with one baby in her
lap while she was rocking another who lay in a cradle at her feet.
Mr Crawley, in the meanwhile, had risen from his seat with his
finger between the leaves of an old grammar out of which he had
been teaching his two elder children. The whole Crawley family was
thus before them when Mrs Robarts and Lucy entered the
sitting-room. 'This is my sister-in-law, Lucy,' said Mrs Robarts.
'Pray don't move now, Mrs Crawley; or if you do, let me take
baby.' And she put out her arms and took the infant into them,
making him quite at home there; for she had work of this kind of
her own, at home, which she by no means neglected, though the
attendance of nurses was more plentiful with her than at
Hogglestock. Mrs Crawley did get up and told Lucy that she was
glad to see her, and Mr Crawley came forward, grammar in hand,
looking humble and meek. Could we have looked into the innermost
spirit of him and his life's partner, we should have seen that
mixed with the pride of his poverty there was some feeling of
disgrace that he was poor, but that with her, regarding this
matter, there was neither pride nor shame. The realities of life
had become so stern to her that the outward aspects of them were as
nothing. She would have liked a new gown because it would have
been useful; but it would have been nothing to her if all the
county knew that the one in which she went to church had been
turned three times. It galled him, however, to think that he and
his were so poorly dressed. 'I am afraid you can hardly find a
chair, Miss Robarts,' said Mr Crawley.
'Oh, yes, there is nothing here but this young gentleman's
library,' said Lucy, moving a pile of ragged, coverless books onto
the table. 'I hope he'll forgive me for moving them.'
'They are not Bob's,--at least, not the most of them,--but mine,'
said the girl.
'But some of them are mine,' said the boy; 'ain't they, Grace?'
'And are you a great scholar?' asked Lucy, drawing the child to
'I don't know,' said Grace, with a sheepish face. 'I am in Greek
Delectus and the irregular verbs.'
'Greek Delectus and the irregular verbs!' And Lucy put up her
hands with astonishment.
'And she knows an ode of Horace all by heart,' said Bob.
'An ode of Horace!' said Lucy, still holding the young shamefaced
prodigy close to her knees.
'It is all that I can give them,' said Mr Crawley, apologetically.
'A little scholarship is the only fortune that has come my way, and
I endeavour to share that with my children.'
'I believe men may say that it is the best fortune any of us can
have,' said Lucy, thinking, however, in her own mind, that Horace
and the irregular Greek verbs savoured too much of precocious
forcing in a young lady of nine years old. But, nevertheless, Grace
was a pretty, simple-looking girl, and clung to her ally closely,
and seemed to like being fondled. So that Lucy anxiously wished
that Mr Crawley could be got rid of and the presents produced.
'I hope you have left Mr Robarts quite well,' said Mr Crawley, with
a stiff, ceremonial voice, differing very much from that in which
he had so energetically addressed his brother clergyman when they
were alone together in the study at Framley. 'He is quite well,
thank you. I suppose you have heard of his good fortune?'
'Yes; I have heard of it,' said Mr Crawley, gravely. 'I hope that
his promotion may tend in every way to his advantage here and
hereafter.' It seemed, however, to be manifest from the manner in
which he expressed his kind wishes that his hopes and expectation
did not go hand in hand together.
'By the by, he desired us to say that he will call here to-morrow;
at about eleven, didn't he say, Fanny?'
'Yes; he wishes to see you about some parish business, I think,'
said Mrs Robarts, looking up for a moment from the anxious
discussion in which she was already engaged with Mrs Crawley on
'Pray tell him,' said Mr Crawley, 'that I shall be happy to see
him; though, perhaps, now that new duties have been thrown upon
him, it will be better that I should visit him at Framley.'
'His new duties do not disturb him much as yet,' said Lucy. 'And
his riding over here will be no trouble to him.'
'Yes; there he has the advantage over me. I unfortunately have no
horse.' And then Lucy began petting the little boy, and by degrees
slipped a small bag of gingerbread-nuts out of her muff into his
hands. She had not the patience necessary for waiting, as had her
sister-in-law. The boy took the bag, peeped into it, and then
looked up into her face.
'What is that, Bob?' said Mr Crawley.
'Gingerbread,' faltered Bobby, feeling that a sin had been
committed, though, probably feeling also that he himself could
hardly as yet be accounted as deeply guilty.
'Miss Robarts,' said the father, 'we are very much obliged to you;
but our children are hardly used to such things.'
'I am a lady with a weak mind, Mr Crawley, and always carry things
of this sort about with me when I go to visit children; so you must
forgive me, and allow your little boy to accept them.'
'Oh, certainly, Bob, my child, give the bag to your mamma, and she
will let you and Grace have them, one at a time.' And then the bag
in a solemn manner was carried over to their mother, who, taking it
from her son's hands, laid it high on a bookshelf.
'And not one now?' said Lucy Robarts, very piteously. 'Don't be so
hard, Mr Crawley,--not upon them, but upon me. May I not learn
whether they are good of their kind?'
'I am sure they are very good; but I think their mamma will prefer
their being put by for the present.' This was very discouraging to
Lucy. If one small bag of gingerbread-nuts created so great a
difficulty, how was she to dispose of the pot of guava jelly and a
box of bonbons, which were still in her muff; or how distribute the
packet of oranges with which the pony carriage was laden? And
there was jelly for the sick child, and chicken broth, which was,
indeed, another jelly; and, to tell the truth openly, there was
also a joint of fresh pork and a basket of eggs from the Framley
parsonage farmyard, which Mrs Robarts was to introduce, should she
find herself capable of doing so; but which would certainly be cast
out with utter scorn by Mr Crawley, if tendered in his immediate
presence. There had also been a suggestion as to adding two or
three bottles of port: but the courage of the ladies had failed
them on that head, and the wine was not now added to their
difficulties. Lucy found it very difficult to keep up a
conversation with Mr Crawley--the more so as Mrs Robarts and Mrs
Crawley presently withdrew into a bedroom, taking the two younger
children with them. 'How unlucky,' thought Lucy, 'that she has not
got my muff with her!' But the muff lay in her lap, ponderous with
its rich enclosures.
'I suppose you will live in Barchester for a portion of the year
now,' said Mr Crawley.
'I really do not know as yet; Mark talks of taking lodgings for his
first month's residence.'
'But he will have the house, will he not?'
'Oh, yes; I suppose so.'
'I fear he will find it interfere with his own parish--with his
general utility there: the schools, for instance.'
'Mark thinks that, as he is so near, he need not be much absent
from Framley, even during his residence. And then Lady Lufton is
so good about the schools.'
'Ah! yes: but Lady Lufton is not a clergyman, Miss Robarts.' It
was on Lucy's tongue to say that her ladyship was pretty nearly as
bad, but she stopped herself. At this moment Providence sent great
relief to Miss Robarts in the shape of Mrs Crawley's red-armed
maid-of-all-work, who, walking up to her master, whispered into his
ear that he was wanted. It was the time of day at which his
attendance was always required in his parish school; and that
attendance being so punctually given, those who wanted him looked
for him there at this hour, and if he were absent, did not scruple
to send for him. 'Miss Robarts, I am afraid you must excuse me,'
said he, getting up and taking his hat and stick. Lucy begged that
she might not be at all in the way, and already began to speculate
how she might best unload her treasures. 'Will you make my
compliments to Mrs Robarts, and say that I am sorry to miss the
pleasure of wishing her good-bye? But I shall probably see her as
she passes the school-house.' And then, stick in hand, he walked
forth, and Lucy fancied that Bobby's eyes immediately rested on the
bag of gingerbread-nuts.
'Bob,' said she, almost in a whisper, 'do you like sugar-plumbs?'
'Very much, indeed,' said Bob, with exceeding gravity, and with his
eye upon the window to see whether his father had passed.
'Then come here,' said Lucy. But as she spoke the door again
opened, and Mr Crawley reappeared. 'I have left a book behind me,'
he said; and coming back through the room, he took up the well-worn
Prayer Book which accompanied him in all his wanderings through the
parish. Bobby, when he saw his father, had retreated a few steps
back, as also did Grace, who, to confess the truth, had been
attracted by the sound of sugar-plumbs, in spite of the irregular
verbs. And Lucy withdrew her hand from the muff and looked
guilty. Was she not deceiving the good man--nay, teaching his own
children to deceive him? But there are men made of such stuff that
an angel could hardly live with them without some deceit. 'Papa's
gone now,' whispered Bobby; 'I saw him turn round the corner.' He,
at any rate, had learned his lesson--as it was natural that he
should do. Some one else, also, had learned that papa was gone;
for while Bob and Grace were still counting the big lumps of
sugar-candy, each employed the while for inward solace with an inch
of barley-sugar, the front-door opened, and a big basket, and a
bundle done up in kitchen cloth, made surreptitious entrance into
the house, and were quickly unpacked by Mrs Robarts herself on the
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