Tantissimi classici della letteratura e della cultura politica,
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Abbe Prevost - MANON LESCAUT
Alcott, Louisa M. - AN OLDFASHIONED GIRL
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE MEN
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE WOMEN
Alcott, Louisa May - JACK AND JILL
Alcott, Louisa May - LIFE LETTERS AND JOURNALS
Andersen, Hans Christian - FAIRY TALES
Anonimo - BEOWULF
Ariosto, Ludovico - ORLANDO ENRAGED
Aurelius, Marcus - MEDITATIONS
Austen, Jane - EMMA
Austen, Jane - MANSFIELD PARK
Austen, Jane - NORTHANGER ABBEY
Austen, Jane - PERSUASION
Austen, Jane - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Austen, Jane - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Authors, Various - LETTERS OF ABELARD AND HELOISE
Authors, Various - SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
Autori Vari - THE WORLD ENGLISH BIBLE
Bacon, Francis - THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING
Balzac, Honore de - EUGENIE GRANDET
Balzac, Honore de - FATHER GORIOT
Baroness Orczy - THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
Barrie, J. M. - PETER AND WENDY
Barrie, James M. - PETER PAN
Bierce, Ambrose - THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY
Blake, William - SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE
Boccaccio, Giovanni - DECAMERONE
Brent, Linda - INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL
Bronte, Charlotte - JANE EYRE
Bronte, Charlotte - VILLETTE
Buchan, John - GREENMANTLE
Buchan, John - MR STANDFAST
Buchan, John - THE 39 STEPS
Bunyan, John - THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
Burckhardt, Jacob - THE CIVILIZATION OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
Burnett, Frances H. - A LITTLE PRINCESS
Burnett, Frances H. - LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY
Burnett, Frances H. - THE SECRET GARDEN
Butler, Samuel - EREWHON
Carlyle, Thomas - PAST AND PRESENT
Carlyle, Thomas - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Cellini, Benvenuto - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Cervantes - DON QUIXOTE
Chaucer, Geoffrey - THE CANTERBURY TALES
Chesterton, G. K. - A SHORT HISTORY OF ENGLAND
Chesterton, G. K. - THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE
Chesterton, G. K. - THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY
Chesterton, G. K. - THE WISDOM OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - TWELVE TYPES
Chesterton, G. K. - WHAT I SAW IN AMERICA
Chesterton, Gilbert K. - HERETICS
Chopin, Kate - AT FAULT
Chopin, Kate - BAYOU FOLK
Chopin, Kate - THE AWAKENING AND SELECTED SHORT STORIES
Clark Hall, John R. - A CONCISE ANGLOSAXON DICTIONARY
Clarkson, Thomas - AN ESSAY ON THE SLAVERY AND COMMERCE OF THE HUMAN SPECIES
Clausewitz, Carl von - ON WAR
Coleridge, Herbert - A DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST OR OLDEST WORDS IN THE ENGLISH
Coleridge, S. T. - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Coleridge, S. T. - HINTS TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE THEORY
Coleridge, S. T. - THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
Collins, Wilkie - THE MOONSTONE
Collodi - PINOCCHIO
Conan Doyle, Arthur - A STUDY IN SCARLET
Conan Doyle, Arthur - MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
Conrad, Joseph - HEART OF DARKNESS
Conrad, Joseph - LORD JIM
Conrad, Joseph - NOSTROMO
Conrad, Joseph - THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS
Conrad, Joseph - TYPHOON
Crane, Stephen - LAST WORDS
Crane, Stephen - MAGGIE
Crane, Stephen - THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
Crane, Stephen - WOUNDS IN THE RAIN
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: HELL
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PARADISE
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PURGATORY
Darwin, Charles - THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN
Darwin, Charles - THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
Defoe, Daniel - A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE PYRATES
Defoe, Daniel - A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR
Defoe, Daniel - CAPTAIN SINGLETON
Defoe, Daniel - MOLL FLANDERS
Defoe, Daniel - ROBINSON CRUSOE
Defoe, Daniel - THE COMPLETE ENGLISH TRADESMAN
Defoe, Daniel - THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE
Deledda, Grazia - AFTER THE DIVORCE
Dickens, Charles - A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Dickens, Charles - A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Dickens, Charles - BLEAK HOUSE
Dickens, Charles - DAVID COPPERFIELD
Dickens, Charles - DONBEY AND SON
Dickens, Charles - GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Dickens, Charles - HARD TIMES
Dickens, Charles - LETTERS VOLUME 1
Dickens, Charles - LITTLE DORRIT
Dickens, Charles - MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT
Dickens, Charles - NICHOLAS NICKLEBY
Dickens, Charles - OLIVER TWIST
Dickens, Charles - OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
Dickens, Charles - PICTURES FROM ITALY
Dickens, Charles - THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Dickens, Charles - THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
Dickens, Charles - THE PICKWICK PAPERS
Dickinson, Emily - POEMS
Dostoevsky, Fyodor - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
Du Maurier, George - TRILBY
Dumas, Alexandre - THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Dumas, Alexandre - THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
Dumas, Alexandre - THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Eliot, George - DANIEL DERONDA
Eliot, George - MIDDLEMARCH
Eliot, George - SILAS MARNER
Eliot, George - THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
Engels, Frederick - THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING-CLASS IN ENGLAND IN 1844
Equiano - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Esopo - FABLES
Fenimore Cooper, James - THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Fielding, Henry - TOM JONES
France, Anatole - THAIS
France, Anatole - THE GODS ARE ATHIRST
France, Anatole - THE LIFE OF JOAN OF ARC
France, Anatole - THE SEVEN WIVES OF BLUEBEARD
Frank Baum, L. - THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ
Frank Baum, L. - THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
Franklin, Benjamin - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Frazer, James George - THE GOLDEN BOUGH
Freud, Sigmund - DREAM PSYCHOLOGY
Galsworthy, John - COMPLETE PLAYS
Galsworthy, John - STRIFE
Galsworthy, John - STUDIES AND ESSAYS
Galsworthy, John - THE FIRST AND THE LAST
Galsworthy, John - THE FORSYTE SAGA
Galsworthy, John - THE LITTLE MAN
Galsworthy, John - THE SILVER BOX
Galsworthy, John - THE SKIN GAME
Gaskell, Elizabeth - CRANFORD
Gaskell, Elizabeth - MARY BARTON
Gaskell, Elizabeth - NORTH AND SOUTH
Gaskell, Elizabeth - THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE
Gay, John - THE BEGGAR'S OPERA
Gentile, Maria - THE ITALIAN COOK BOOK
Gilbert and Sullivan - PLAYS
Goethe - FAUST
Gogol - DEAD SOULS
Goldsmith, Oliver - SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
Goldsmith, Oliver - THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
Grahame, Kenneth - THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
Grimm, Brothers - FAIRY TALES
Harding, A. R. - GINSENG AND OTHER MEDICINAL PLANTS
Hardy, Thomas - A CHANGED MAN AND OTHER TALES
Hardy, Thomas - FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Hardy, Thomas - JUDE THE OBSCURE
Hardy, Thomas - TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
Hardy, Thomas - THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE
Hartley, Cecil B. - THE GENTLEMEN'S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - LITTLE MASTERPIECES
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - THE SCARLET LETTER
Henry VIII - LOVE LETTERS TO ANNE BOLEYN
Henry, O. - CABBAGES AND KINGS
Henry, O. - SIXES AND SEVENS
Henry, O. - THE FOUR MILLION
Henry, O. - THE TRIMMED LAMP
Henry, O. - WHIRLIGIGS
Hindman Miller, Gustavus - TEN THOUSAND DREAMS INTERPRETED
Hobbes, Thomas - LEVIATHAN
Homer - THE ILIAD
Homer - THE ODYSSEY
Hornaday, William T. - THE EXTERMINATION OF THE AMERICAN BISON
Hume, David - A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE
Hume, David - AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
Hume, David - DIALOGUES CONCERNING NATURAL RELIGION
Ibsen, Henrik - A DOLL'S HOUSE
Ibsen, Henrik - AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
Ibsen, Henrik - GHOSTS
Ibsen, Henrik - HEDDA GABLER
Ibsen, Henrik - JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN
Ibsen, Henrik - ROSMERHOLM
Ibsen, Henrik - THE LADY FROM THE SEA
Ibsen, Henrik - THE MASTER BUILDER
Ibsen, Henrik - WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN
Irving, Washington - THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
James, Henry - ITALIAN HOURS
James, Henry - THE ASPERN PAPERS
James, Henry - THE BOSTONIANS
James, Henry - THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
James, Henry - THE TURN OF THE SCREW
James, Henry - WASHINGTON SQUARE
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN IN A BOAT
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL
Jevons, Stanley - POLITICAL ECONOMY
Johnson, Samuel - A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE
Jonson, Ben - THE ALCHEMIST
Jonson, Ben - VOLPONE
Joyce, James - A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
Joyce, James - CHAMBER MUSIC
Joyce, James - DUBLINERS
Joyce, James - ULYSSES
Keats, John - ENDYMION
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1817
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1820
King James - THE BIBLE
Kipling, Rudyard - CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
Kipling, Rudyard - INDIAN TALES
Kipling, Rudyard - JUST SO STORIES
Kipling, Rudyard - KIM
Kipling, Rudyard - THE JUNGLE BOOK
Kipling, Rudyard - THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
Kipling, Rudyard - THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK
Lawrence, D. H - THE RAINBOW
Lawrence, D. H - THE WHITE PEACOCK
Lawrence, D. H - TWILIGHT IN ITALY
Lawrence, D. H. - AARON'S ROD
Lawrence, D. H. - SONS AND LOVERS
Lawrence, D. H. - THE LOST GIRL
Lawrence, D. H. - WOMEN IN LOVE
Lear, Edward - BOOK OF NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - LAUGHABLE LYRICS
Lear, Edward - MORE NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - NONSENSE SONG
Leblanc, Maurice - ARSENE LUPIN VS SHERLOCK HOLMES
Leblanc, Maurice - THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE CONFESSIONS OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE HOLLOW NEEDLE
Leblanc, Maurice - THE RETURN OF ARSENE LUPIN
Lehmann, Lilli - HOW TO SING
Leroux, Gaston - THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER
Leroux, Gaston - THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM
Leroux, Gaston - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
London, Jack - MARTIN EDEN
London, Jack - THE CALL OF THE WILD
London, Jack - WHITE FANG
Machiavelli, Nicolo' - THE PRINCE
Malthus, Thomas - PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION
Mansfield, Katherine - THE GARDEN PARTY AND OTHER STORIES
Marlowe, Christopher - THE JEW OF MALTA
Marryat, Captain - THE CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST
Maupassant, Guy De - BEL AMI
Melville, Hermann - MOBY DICK
Melville, Hermann - TYPEE
Mill, John Stuart - PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY
Milton, John - PARADISE LOST
Mitra, S. M. - HINDU TALES FROM THE SANSKRIT
Montaigne, Michel de - ESSAYS
Montgomery, Lucy Maud - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
More, Thomas - UTOPIA
Nesbit, E. - FIVE CHILDREN AND IT
Nesbit, E. - THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET
Nesbit, E. - THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
Nesbit, E. - THE STORY OF THE AMULET
Newton, Isaac - OPTICKS
Nietsche, Friedrich - BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
Nietsche, Friedrich - THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
Nightingale, Florence - NOTES ON NURSING
Owen, Wilfred - POEMS
Ozaki, Yei Theodora - JAPANESE FAIRY TALES
Pascal, Blaise - PENSEES
Pellico, Silvio - MY TEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT
Perrault, Charles - FAIRY TALES
Pirandello, Luigi - THREE PLAYS
Plato - THE REPUBLIC
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 1
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 2
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 3
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 4
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 5
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
Potter, Beatrix - THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
Proust, Marcel - SWANN'S WAY
Radcliffe, Ann - A SICILIAN ROMANCE
Ricardo, David - ON THE PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY AND TAXATION
Richardson, Samuel - PAMELA
Rider Haggard, H. - ALLAN QUATERMAIN
Rider Haggard, H. - KING SOLOMON'S MINES
Rousseau, J. J. - THE ORIGIN AND FOUNDATION OF INEQUALITY AMONG MANKIND
Ruskin, John - THE SEVEN LAMPS OF ARCHITECTURE
Schiller, Friedrich - THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
Schiller, Friedrich - THE PICCOLOMINI
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE ART OF CONTROVERSY
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE WISDOM OF LIFE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Scott, Walter - IVANHOE
Scott, Walter - QUENTIN DURWARD
Scott, Walter - ROB ROY
Scott, Walter - THE BRIDE OF LAMMERMOOR
Scott, Walter - WAVERLEY
Sedgwick, Anne Douglas - THE THIRD WINDOW
Sewell, Anna - BLACK BEAUTY
Shakespeare, William - COMPLETE WORKS
Shakespeare, William - HAMLET
Shakespeare, William - OTHELLO
Shakespeare, William - ROMEO AND JULIET
Shelley, Mary - FRANKENSTEIN
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - A DEFENCE OF POETRY AND OTHER ESSAYS
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Sheridan, Richard B. - THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL
Sienkiewicz, Henryk - QUO VADIS
Smith, Adam - THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
Smollett, Tobias - TRAVELS THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY
Spencer, Herbert - ESSAYS ON EDUCATION AND KINDRED SUBJECTS
Spyri, Johanna - HEIDI
Sterne, Laurence - A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
Sterne, Laurence - TRISTRAM SHANDY
Stevenson, Robert Louis - A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES
Stevenson, Robert Louis - ESSAYS IN THE ART OF WRITING
Stevenson, Robert Louis - KIDNAPPED
Stevenson, Robert Louis - NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE BLACK ARROW
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
Stevenson, Robert Louis - TREASURE ISLAND
Stoker, Bram - DRACULA
Strindberg, August - LUCKY PEHR
Strindberg, August - MASTER OLOF
Strindberg, August - THE RED ROOM
Strindberg, August - THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
Strindberg, August - THERE ARE CRIMES AND CRIMES
Swift, Jonathan - A MODEST PROPOSAL
Swift, Jonathan - A TALE OF A TUB
Swift, Jonathan - GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
Swift, Jonathan - THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS AND OTHER SHORT PIECES
Tagore, Rabindranath - FRUIT GATHERING
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE GARDENER
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE HUNGRY STONES AND OTHER STORIES
Thackeray, William - BARRY LYNDON
Thackeray, William - VANITY FAIR
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE BOOK OF SNOBS
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE ROSE AND THE RING
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE VIRGINIANS
Thoreau, Henry David - WALDEN
Tolstoi, Leo - A LETTER TO A HINDU
Tolstoy, Lev - ANNA KARENINA
Tolstoy, Lev - WAR AND PEACE
Trollope, Anthony - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Trollope, Anthony - BARCHESTER TOWERS
Trollope, Anthony - FRAMLEY PARSONAGE
Trollope, Anthony - THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS
Trollope, Anthony - THE MAN WHO KEPT HIS MONEY IN A BOX
Trollope, Anthony - THE WARDEN
Trollope, Anthony - THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
Twain, Mark - LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI
Twain, Mark - SPEECHES
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
Twain, Mark - THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
Vari, Autori - THE MAGNA CARTA
Verga, Giovanni - SICILIAN STORIES
Verne, Jules - 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
Verne, Jules - A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
Verne, Jules - ALL AROUND THE MOON
Verne, Jules - AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Verne, Jules - FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON
Verne, Jules - FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON
Verne, Jules - MICHAEL STROGOFF
Verne, Jules - THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
Voltaire - PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY
Vyasa - MAHABHARATA
Wallace, Edgar - SANDERS OF THE RIVER
Wallace, Edgar - THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
Wallace, Lew - BEN HUR
Webster, Jean - DADDY LONG LEGS
Wedekind, Franz - THE AWAKENING OF SPRING
Wells, H. G. - KIPPS
Wells, H. G. - THE INVISIBLE MAN
Wells, H. G. - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU
Wells, H. G. - THE STOLEN BACILLUS AND OTHER INCIDENTS
Wells, H. G. - THE TIME MACHINE
Wells, H. G. - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
Wells, H. G. - WHAT IS COMING
Wharton, Edith - THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
White, Andrew Dickson - FIAT MONEY INFLATION IN FRANCE
Wilde, Oscar - A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Wilde, Oscar - AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Wilde, Oscar - DE PROFUNDIS
Wilde, Oscar - LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Wilde, Oscar - SALOME
Wilde, Oscar - SELECTED POEMS
Wilde, Oscar - THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL
Wilde, Oscar - THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
Wilde, Oscar - THE HAPPY PRINCE AND OTHER TALES
Wilde, Oscar - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Wilde, Oscar - THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY
Wilde, Oscar - THE SOUL OF MAN
Wilson, Epiphanius - SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
Wollstonecraft, Mary - A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
Woolf, Virgina - NIGHT AND DAY
Woolf, Virgina - THE VOYAGE OUT
Woolf, Virginia - JACOB'S ROOM
Woolf, Virginia - MONDAY OR TUESDAY
Wordsworth, William - POEMS
Wordsworth, William - PROSE WORKS
Zola, Emile - THERESE RAQUIN
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ISTRUZIONI D'USO DETTAGLIATE
by ANTHONY TROLLOPE
I. "OMNES OMNIA BONA DICERE."
II. THE FRAMLEY SET, AND THE CHALDICOTES SET.
IV. A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE.
V. AMANTIUM IRÆ AMORIS INTEGRATIO.
VI. MR. HAROLD SMITH'S LECTURE.
VII. SUNDAY MORNING.
VIII. GATHERUM CASTLE.
IX. THE VICAR'S RETURN.
X. LUCY ROBARTS.
XI. GRISELDA GRANTLY.
XII. THE LITTLE BILL.
XIII. DELICATE HINTS.
XIV. MR. CRAWLEY OF HOGGLESTOCK.
XV. LADY LUFTON'S AMBASSADOR.
XVI. MRS. PODGENS' BABY.
XVII. MRS. PROUDIE'S CONVERSAZIONE.
XVIII. THE NEW MINISTER'S PATRONAGE.
XIX. MONEY DEALINGS.
XX. HAROLD SMITH IN THE CABINET.
XXI. WHY PUCK, THE PONY, WAS BEATEN.
XXII. HOGGLESTOCK PARSONAGE.
XXIII. THE TRIUMPH OF THE GIANTS.
XXIV. MAGNA EST VERITAS.
XXVII. SOUTH AUDLEY STREET.
XXVIII. DR. THORNE.
XXIX. MISS DUNSTABLE AT HOME.
XXX. THE GRANTLY TRIUMPH.
XXXI. SALMON FISHING IN NORWAY.
XXXII. THE GOAT AND COMPASSES.
XXXIV. LADY LUFTON IS TAKEN BY SURPRISE.
XXXV. THE STORY OF KING COPHETUA.
XXXVI. KIDNAPPING AT HOGGLESTOCK.
XXXVII. MR. SOWERBY WITHOUT COMPANY.
XXXVIII. IS THERE CAUSE OR JUST IMPEDIMENT?
XXXIX. HOW TO WRITE A LOVE LETTER.
LXI. DON QUIXOTE.
LXII. TOUCHING PITCH.
LXIII. IS SHE NOT INSIGNIFICANT?
LXIV. THE PHILISTINES AT THE PARSONAGE.
LXV. PALACE BLESSINGS.
LXVI. LADY LUFTON'S REQUEST.
LXVIII. HOW THEY WERE ALL MARRIED, HAD TWO CHILDREN,
AND LIVED HAPPY EVER AFTER.
LORD LUFTON AND LUCY ROBARTS. CHAPTER XI.
"WAS IT NOT A LIE?" CHAPTER XVI.
THE CRAWLEY FAMILY. CHAPTER XXII.
LADY LUFTON AND THE DUKE OF OMNIUM. CHAPTER XXIX.
MRS. GRESHAM AND MISS DUNSTABLE. CHAPTER XXXVIII.
"MARK," SHE SAID, "THE MEN ARE HERE." CHAPTER XLIV.
"OMNES OMNIA BONA DICERE."
When young Mark Robarts was leaving college, his father might well
declare that all men began to say all good things to him, and to
extol his fortune in that he had a son blessed with so excellent a
This father was a physician living at Exeter. He was a gentleman
possessed of no private means, but enjoying a lucrative practice,
which had enabled him to maintain and educate a family with all the
advantages which money can give in this country. Mark was his eldest
son and second child; and the first page or two of this narrative
must be consumed in giving a catalogue of the good things which
chance and conduct together had heaped upon this young man's head.
His first step forward in life had arisen from his having been
sent, while still very young, as a private pupil to the house of a
clergyman, who was an old friend and intimate friend of his father's.
This clergyman had one other, and only one other, pupil--the young
Lord Lufton; and between the two boys, there had sprung up a close
While they were both so placed, Lady Lufton had visited her son,
and then invited young Robarts to pass his next holidays at Framley
Court. This visit was made; and it ended in Mark going back to Exeter
with a letter full of praise from the widowed peeress. She had been
delighted, she said, in having such a companion for her son, and
expressed a hope that the boys might remain together during the
course of their education. Dr. Robarts was a man who thought much of
the breath of peers and peeresses, and was by no means inclined to
throw away any advantage which might arise to his child from such a
friendship. When, therefore, the young lord was sent to Harrow, Mark
Robarts went there also.
That the lord and his friend often quarrelled, and occasionally
fought,--the fact even that for one period of three months they never
spoke to each other--by no means interfered with the doctor's hopes.
Mark again and again stayed a fortnight at Framley Court, and Lady
Lufton always wrote about him in the highest terms.
And then the lads went together to Oxford, and here Mark's good
fortune followed him, consisting rather in the highly respectable
manner in which he lived, than in any wonderful career of collegiate
success. His family was proud of him, and the doctor was always ready
to talk of him to his patients; not because he was a prizeman, and
had gotten medals and scholarships, but on account of the excellence
of his general conduct. He lived with the best set--he incurred no
debts--he was fond of society, but able to avoid low society--liked
his glass of wine, but was never known to be drunk; and, above all
things, was one of the most popular men in the university.
Then came the question of a profession for this young Hyperion,
and on this subject, Dr. Robarts was invited himself to go over to
Framley Court to discuss the matter with Lady Lufton. Dr. Robarts
returned with a very strong conception that the Church was the
profession best suited to his son.
Lady Lufton had not sent for Dr. Robarts all the way from Exeter for
nothing. The living of Framley was in the gift of the Lufton family,
and the next presentation would be in Lady Lufton's hands, if it
should fall vacant before the young lord was twenty-five years of
age, and in the young lord's hands if it should fall afterwards. But
the mother and the heir consented to give a joint promise to Dr.
Robarts. Now, as the present incumbent was over seventy, and as the
living was worth £900 a year, there could be no doubt as to the
eligibility of the clerical profession.
And I must further say, that the dowager and the doctor were
justified in their choice by the life and principles of the young
man--as far as any father can be justified in choosing such a
profession for his son, and as far as any lay impropriator can be
justified in making such a promise. Had Lady Lufton had a second son,
that second son would probably have had the living, and no one would
have thought it wrong;--certainly not if that second son had been
such a one as Mark Robarts.
Lady Lufton herself was a woman who thought much on religious
matters, and would by no means have been disposed to place any one in
a living, merely because such a one had been her son's friend. Her
tendencies were High Church, and she was enabled to perceive that
those of young Mark Robarts ran in the same direction. She was very
desirous that her son should make an associate of his clergyman, and
by this step she would insure, at any rate, that. She was anxious
that the parish vicar should be one with whom she could herself fully
co-operate, and was perhaps unconsciously wishful that he might in
some measure be subject to her influence. Should she appoint an elder
man, this might probably not be the case to the same extent; and
should her son have the gift, it might probably not be the case at
all. And therefore it was resolved that the living should be given to
He took his degree--not with any brilliancy, but quite in the manner
that his father desired; he then travelled for eight or ten months
with Lord Lufton and a college don, and almost immediately after his
return home was ordained.
The living of Framley is in the diocese of Barchester; and, seeing
what were Mark's hopes with reference to that diocese, it was by no
means difficult to get him a curacy within it. But this curacy he was
not allowed long to fill. He had not been in it above a twelvemonth,
when poor old Dr. Stopford, the then vicar of Framley, was gathered
to his fathers, and the full fruition of his rich hopes fell upon his
But even yet more must be told of his good fortune before we can come
to the actual incidents of our story. Lady Lufton, who, as I have
said, thought much of clerical matters, did not carry her High Church
principles so far as to advocate celibacy for the clergy. On the
contrary, she had an idea that a man could not be a good parish
parson without a wife. So, having given to her favourite a position
in the world, and an income sufficient for a gentleman's wants, she
set herself to work to find him a partner in those blessings.
And here also, as in other matters, he fell in with the views of
his patroness--not, however, that they were declared to him in that
marked manner in which the affair of the living had been broached.
Lady Lufton was much too highly gifted with woman's craft for that.
She never told the young vicar that Miss Monsell accompanied her
ladyship's married daughter to Framley Court expressly that he, Mark,
might fall in love with her; but such was in truth the case.
Lady Lufton had but two children. The eldest, a daughter, had been
married some four or five years to Sir George Meredith, and this
Miss Monsell was a dear friend of hers. And now looms before me the
novelist's great difficulty. Miss Monsell,--or, rather, Mrs. Mark
Robarts,--must be described. As Miss Monsell, our tale will have
to take no prolonged note of her. And yet we will call her Fanny
Monsell, when we declare that she was one of the pleasantest
companions that could be brought near to a man, as the future partner
of his home, and owner of his heart. And if high principles without
asperity, female gentleness without weakness, a love of laughter
without malice, and a true loving heart, can qualify a woman to be a
parson's wife, then was Fanny Monsell qualified to fill that station.
In person she was somewhat larger than common. Her face would have
been beautiful but that her mouth was large. Her hair, which was
copious, was of a bright brown; her eyes also were brown, and, being
so, were the distinctive feature of her face, for brown eyes are not
common. They were liquid, large, and full either of tenderness or of
mirth. Mark Robarts still had his accustomed luck, when such a girl
as this was brought to Framley for his wooing.
And he did woo her--and won her. For Mark himself was a handsome
fellow. At this time the vicar was about twenty-five years of age,
and the future Mrs. Robarts was two or three years younger. Nor did
she come quite empty-handed to the vicarage. It cannot be said that
Fanny Monsell was an heiress, but she had been left with a provision
of some few thousand pounds. This was so settled, that the interest
of his wife's money paid the heavy insurance on his life which
young Robarts effected, and there was left to him, over and above,
sufficient to furnish his parsonage in the very best style of
clerical comfort,--and to start him on the road of life rejoicing.
So much did Lady Lufton do for her "protégé", and it may well be
imagined that the Devonshire physician, sitting meditative over his
parlour fire, looking back, as men will look back on the upshot of
their life, was well contented with that upshot, as regarded his
eldest offshoot, the Rev. Mark Robarts, the vicar of Framley.
But little has as yet been said, personally, as to our hero himself,
and perhaps it may not be necessary to say much. Let us hope that by
degrees he may come forth upon the canvas, showing to the beholder
the nature of the man inwardly and outwardly. Here it may suffice
to say that he was no born heaven's cherub, neither was he a born
fallen devil's spirit. Such as his training made him, such he was.
He had large capabilities for good--and aptitudes also for evil,
quite enough: quite enough to make it needful that he should repel
temptation as temptation only can be repelled. Much had been done to
spoil him, but in the ordinary acceptation of the word he was not
spoiled. He had too much tact, too much common sense, to believe
himself to be the paragon which his mother thought him. Self-conceit
was not, perhaps, his greatest danger. Had he possessed more of it,
he might have been a less agreeable man, but his course before him
might on that account have been the safer.
In person he was manly, tall, and fair-haired, with a square
forehead, denoting intelligence rather than thought, with clear white
hands, filbert nails, and a power of dressing himself in such a
manner that no one should ever observe of him that his clothes were
either good or bad, shabby or smart.
Such was Mark Robarts when at the age of twenty-five, or a little
more, he married Fanny Monsell. The marriage was celebrated in his
own church, for Miss Monsell had no home of her own, and had been
staying for the last three months at Framley Court. She was given
away by Sir George Meredith, and Lady Lufton herself saw that the
wedding was what it should be, with almost as much care as she had
bestowed on that of her own daughter. The deed of marrying, the
absolute tying of the knot, was performed by the Very Reverend the
Dean of Barchester, an esteemed friend of Lady Lufton's. And Mrs.
Arabin, the dean's wife, was of the party, though the distance from
Barchester to Framley is long, and the roads deep, and no railway
lends its assistance. And Lord Lufton was there of course; and people
protested that he would surely fall in love with one of the four
beautiful bridesmaids, of whom Blanche Robarts, the vicar's second
sister, was by common acknowledgment by far the most beautiful.
And there was there another and a younger sister of Mark's--who did
not officiate at the ceremony, though she was present--and of whom no
prediction was made, seeing that she was then only sixteen, but of
whom mention is made here, as it will come to pass that my readers
will know her hereafter. Her name was Lucy Robarts.
And then the vicar and his wife went off on their wedding tour, the
old curate taking care of the Framley souls the while.
And in due time they returned; and after a further interval, in due
course, a child was born to them; and then another; and after that
came the period at which we will begin our story. But before doing
so, may I not assert that all men were right in saying all manner of
good things to the Devonshire physician, and in praising his luck in
having such a son?
"You were up at the house to-day, I suppose?" said Mark to his wife,
as he sat stretching himself in an easy chair in the drawing-room,
before the fire, previously to his dressing for dinner. It was a
November evening, and he had been out all day, and on such occasions
the aptitude for delay in dressing is very powerful. A strong-minded
man goes direct from the hall-door to his chamber without
encountering the temptation of the drawing-room fire.
"No; but Lady Lufton was down here."
"Full of arguments in favour of Sarah Thompson?"
"Exactly so, Mark."
"And what did you say about Sarah Thompson?"
"Very little as coming from myself; but I did hint that you thought,
or that I thought that you thought, that one of the regular trained
schoolmistresses would be better."
"But her ladyship did not agree?"
"Well, I won't exactly say that;--though I think that perhaps she did
"I am sure she did not. When she has a point to carry, she is very
fond of carrying it."
"But then, Mark, her points are generally so good."
"But, you see, in this affair of the school she is thinking more of
her "protégée" than she does of the children."
"Tell her that, and I am sure she will give way."
And then again they were both silent. And the vicar having thoroughly
warmed himself, as far as this might be done by facing the fire,
turned round and began the operation "à tergo".
"Come, Mark, it is twenty minutes past six. Will you go and dress?"
"I'll tell you what, Fanny: she must have her way about Sarah
Thompson. You can see her to-morrow and tell her so."
"I am sure, Mark, I would not give way, if I thought it wrong. Nor
would she expect it."
"If I persist this time, I shall certainly have to yield the next;
and then the next may probably be more important."
"But if it's wrong, Mark?"
"I didn't say it was wrong. Besides, if it is wrong, wrong in some
infinitesimal degree, one must put up with it. Sarah Thompson is very
respectable; the only question is whether she can teach."
The young wife, though she did not say so, had some idea that her
husband was in error. It is true that one must put up with wrong,
with a great deal of wrong. But no one need put up with wrong that
he can remedy. Why should he, the vicar, consent to receive an
incompetent teacher for the parish children, when he was able to
procure one that was competent? In such a case,--so thought Mrs.
Robarts to herself,--she would have fought the matter out with Lady
On the next morning, however, she did as she was bid, and signified
to the dowager that all objection to Sarah Thompson would be
"Ah! I was sure he would agree with me," said her ladyship, "when
he learned what sort of person she is. I know I had only to
explain;"--and then she plumed her feathers, and was very gracious;
for, to tell the truth, Lady Lufton did not like to be opposed in
things which concerned the parish nearly.
"And, Fanny," said Lady Lufton, in her kindest manner, "you are not
going anywhere on Saturday, are you?"
"No, I think not."
"Then you must come to us. Justinia is to be here, you know"--Lady
Meredith was named Justinia--"and you and Mr. Robarts had better stay
with us till Monday. He can have the little book-room all to himself
on Sunday. The Merediths go on Monday; and Justinia won't be happy if
you are not with her."
It would be unjust to say that Lady Lufton had determined not to
invite the Robartses if she were not allowed to have her own way
about Sarah Thompson. But such would have been the result. As it
was, however, she was all kindness; and when Mrs. Robarts made some
little excuse, saying that she was afraid she must return home in the
evening, because of the children, Lady Lufton declared that there was
room enough at Framley Court for baby and nurse, and so settled the
matter in her own way, with a couple of nods and three taps of her
This was on a Tuesday morning, and on the same evening, before
dinner, the vicar again seated himself in the same chair before the
drawing-room fire, as soon as he had seen his horse led into the
"Mark," said his wife, "the Merediths are to be at Framley on
Saturday and Sunday; and I have promised that we will go up and stay
over till Monday."
"You don't mean it! Goodness gracious, how provoking!"
"Why? I thought you wouldn't mind it. And Justinia would think it
unkind if I were not there."
"You can go, my dear, and of course will go. But as for me, it is
"But why, love?"
"Why? Just now, at the school-house, I answered a letter that was
brought to me from Chaldicotes. Sowerby insists on my going over
there for a week or so; and I have said that I would."
"Go to Chaldicotes for a week, Mark?"
"I believe I have even consented to ten days."
"And be away two Sundays?"
"No, Fanny, only one. Don't be so censorious."
"Don't call me censorious, Mark; you know I am not so. But I am so
sorry. It is just what Lady Lufton won't like. Besides, you were away
in Scotland two Sundays last month."
"In September, Fanny. And that is being censorious."
"Oh, but, Mark, dear Mark; don't say so. You know I don't mean it.
But Lady Lufton does not like those Chaldicotes people. You know Lord
Lufton was with you the last time you were there; and how annoyed she
"Lord Lufton won't be with me now, for he is still in Scotland. And
the reason why I am going is this: Harold Smith and his wife will be
there, and I am very anxious to know more of them. I have no doubt
that Harold Smith will be in the government some day, and I cannot
afford to neglect such a man's acquaintance."
"But, Mark, what do you want of any government?"
"Well, Fanny, of course I am bound to say that I want nothing;
neither in one sense do I; but nevertheless, I shall go and meet the
"Could you not be back before Sunday?"
"I have promised to preach at Chaldicotes. Harold Smith is going to
lecture at Barchester, about the Australasian archipelago, and I am
to preach a charity sermon on the same subject. They want to send out
"A charity sermon at Chaldicotes!"
"And why not? The house will be quite full, you know; and I dare say
the Arabins will be there."
"I think not; Mrs. Arabin may get on with Mrs. Harold Smith, though
I doubt that; but I'm sure she's not fond of Mrs. Smith's brother.
I don't think she would stay at Chaldicotes."
"And the bishop will probably be there for a day or two."
"That is much more likely, Mark. If the pleasure of meeting Mrs.
Proudie is taking you to Chaldicotes, I have not a word more to say."
"I am not a bit more fond of Mrs. Proudie than you are, Fanny," said
the vicar, with something like vexation in the tone of his voice,
for he thought that his wife was hard upon him. "But it is generally
thought that a parish clergyman does well to meet his bishop now and
then. And as I was invited there, especially to preach while all
these people are staying at the place, I could not well refuse."
And then he got up, and taking his candlestick, escaped to his
"But what am I to say to Lady Lufton?" his wife said to him, in the
course of the evening.
"Just write her a note, and tell her that you find I had promised to
preach at Chaldicotes next Sunday. You'll go, of course?"
"Yes: but I know she'll be annoyed. You were away the last time she
had people there."
"It can't be helped. She must put it down against Sarah Thompson. She
ought not to expect to win always."
"I should not have minded it, if she had lost, as you call it, about
Sarah Thompson. That was a case in which you ought to have had your
"And this other is a case in which I shall have it. It's a pity that
there should be such a difference; isn't it?"
Then the wife perceived that, vexed as she was, it would be better
that she should say nothing further; and before she went to bed, she
wrote the note to Lady Lufton, as her husband recommended.
THE FRAMLEY SET, AND THE CHALDICOTES SET.
It will be necessary that I should say a word or two of some of the
people named in the few preceding pages, and also of the localities
in which they lived.
Of Lady Lufton herself enough, perhaps, has been written to introduce
her to my readers. The Framley property belonged to her son; but
as Lufton Park--an ancient ramshackle place in another county--had
heretofore been the family residence of the Lufton family, Framley
Court had been apportioned to her for her residence for life. Lord
Lufton himself was still unmarried; and as he had no establishment
at Lufton Park--which indeed had not been inhabited since his
grandfather died--he lived with his mother when it suited him to
live anywhere in that neighbourhood. The widow would fain have seen
more of him than he allowed her to do. He had a shooting-lodge
in Scotland, and apartments in London, and a string of horses in
Leicestershire--much to the disgust of the county gentry around him,
who held that their own hunting was as good as any that England could
afford. His lordship, however, paid his subscription to the East
Barsetshire pack, and then thought himself at liberty to follow his
own pleasure as to his own amusement.
Framley itself was a pleasant country place, having about it nothing
of seignorial dignity or grandeur, but possessing everything
necessary for the comfort of country life. The house was a low
building of two stories, built at different periods, and devoid of
all pretensions to any style of architecture; but the rooms, though
not lofty, were warm and comfortable, and the gardens were trim and
neat beyond all others in the county. Indeed, it was for its gardens
only that Framley Court was celebrated.
Village there was none, properly speaking. The high road went winding
about through the Framley paddocks, shrubberies, and wood-skirted
home fields, for a mile and a half, not two hundred yards of which
ran in a straight line; and there was a cross-road which passed
down through the domain, whereby there came to be a locality called
Framley Cross. Here stood the "Lufton Arms," and here, at Framley
Cross, the hounds occasionally would meet; for the Framley woods were
drawn in spite of the young lord's truant disposition; and then, at
the Cross also, lived the shoemaker, who kept the post-office.
Framley church was distant from this just a quarter of a mile, and
stood immediately opposite to the chief entrance to Framley Court. It
was but a mean, ugly building, having been erected about a hundred
years since, when all churches then built were made to be mean and
ugly; nor was it large enough for the congregation, some of whom were
thus driven to the dissenting chapels, the Sions and Ebenezers, which
had got themselves established on each side of the parish, in putting
down which Lady Lufton thought that her pet parson was hardly as
energetic as he might be. It was, therefore, a matter near to Lady
Lufton's heart to see a new church built, and she was urgent in her
eloquence, both with her son and with the vicar, to have this good
Beyond the church, but close to it, were the boys' school and girls'
school, two distinct buildings, which owed their erection to Lady
Lufton's energy; then came a neat little grocer's shop, the neat
grocer being the clerk and sexton, and the neat grocer's wife, the
pew-opener in the church. Podgens was their name, and they were great
favourites with her ladyship, both having been servants up at the
And here the road took a sudden turn to the left, turning, as it
were, away from Framley Court; and just beyond the turn was the
vicarage, so that there was a little garden path running from the
back of the vicarage grounds into the churchyard, cutting the
Podgenses off into an isolated corner of their own;--from whence, to
tell the truth, the vicar would have been glad to banish them and
their cabbages, could he have had the power to do so. For has not
the small vineyard of Naboth been always an eyesore to neighbouring
The potentate in this case had as little excuse as Ahab, for nothing
in the parsonage way could be more perfect than his parsonage. It
had all the details requisite for the house of a moderate gentleman
with moderate means, and none of those expensive superfluities which
immoderate gentlemen demand, or which themselves demand--immoderate
means. And then the gardens and paddocks were exactly suited to it;
and everything was in good order;--not exactly new, so as to be raw
and uncovered, and redolent of workmen; but just at that era of their
existence in which newness gives way to comfortable homeliness.
Other village at Framley there was none. At the back of the Court, up
one of those cross-roads, there was another small shop or two, and
there was a very neat cottage residence, in which lived the widow of
a former curate, another "protégé" of Lady Lufton's; and there was a
big, staring brick house, in which the present curate lived; but this
was a full mile distant from the church, and farther from Framley
Court, standing on that cross-road which runs from Framley Cross in a
direction away from the mansion. This gentleman, the Rev. Evan Jones,
might, from his age, have been the vicar's father; but he had been
for many years curate of Framley; and though he was personally
disliked by Lady Lufton, as being Low Church in his principles, and
unsightly in his appearance, nevertheless, she would not urge his
removal. He had two or three pupils in that large brick house, and
if turned out from these and from his curacy, might find it difficult
to establish himself elsewhere. On this account mercy was extended
to the Rev. E. Jones, and, in spite of his red face and awkward
big feet, he was invited to dine at Framley Court, with his plain
daughter, once in every three months.
Over and above these, there was hardly a house in the parish of
Framley, outside the bounds of Framley Court, except those of farmers
and farm labourers; and yet the parish was of large extent.
Framley is in the eastern division of the county of Barsetshire,
which, as all the world knows, is, politically speaking, as true
blue a county as any in England. There have been backslidings even
here, it is true; but then, in what county have there not been such
backslidings? Where, in these pinchbeck days, can we hope to find
the old agricultural virtue in all its purity? But, among those
backsliders, I regret to say, that men now reckon Lord Lufton. Not
that he is a violent Whig, or perhaps that he is a Whig at all.
But he jeers and sneers at the old county doings; declares, when
solicited on the subject, that, as far as he is concerned, Mr. Bright
may sit for the county, if he pleases; and alleges, that being
unfortunately a peer, he has no right even to interest himself in
the question. All this is deeply regretted, for, in the old days,
there was no portion of the county more decidedly true blue than that
Framley district; and, indeed, up to the present day, the dowager is
able to give an occasional helping hand.
Chaldicotes is the seat of Nathaniel Sowerby, Esq., who, at the
moment supposed to be now present, is one of the members for the
Western Division of Barsetshire. But this Western Division can boast
none of the fine political attributes which grace its twin brother.
It is decidedly Whig, and is almost governed in its politics by one
or two great Whig families.
It has been said that Mark Robarts was about to pay a visit to
Chaldicotes, and it has been hinted that his wife would have been as
well pleased had this not been the case. Such was certainly the fact;
for she, dear, prudent, excellent wife as she was, knew that Mr.
Sowerby was not the most eligible friend in the world for a young
clergyman, and knew, also, that there was but one other house in the
whole county the name of which was so distasteful to Lady Lufton.
The reasons for this were, I may say, manifold. In the first place,
Mr. Sowerby was a Whig, and was seated in Parliament mainly by the
interest of that great Whig autocrat the Duke of Omnium, whose
residence was more dangerous even than that of Mr. Sowerby, and whom
Lady Lufton regarded as an impersonation of Lucifer upon earth. Mr.
Sowerby, too, was unmarried--as indeed, also, was Lord Lufton, much
to his mother's grief. Mr. Sowerby, it is true, was fifty, whereas
the young lord was as yet only twenty-six, but, nevertheless, her
ladyship was becoming anxious on the subject. In her mind, every
man was bound to marry as soon as he could maintain a wife; and she
held an idea--a quite private tenet, of which she was herself but
imperfectly conscious--that men in general were inclined to neglect
this duty for their own selfish gratifications, that the wicked ones
encouraged the more innocent in this neglect, and that many would
not marry at all, were not an unseen coercion exercised against them
by the other sex. The Duke of Omnium was the very head of all such
sinners, and Lady Lufton greatly feared that her son might be made
subject to the baneful Omnium influence, by means of Mr. Sowerby and
And then Mr. Sowerby was known to be a very poor man, with a very
large estate. He had wasted, men said, much on electioneering, and
more in gambling. A considerable portion of his property had already
gone into the hands of the duke, who, as a rule, bought up everything
around him that was to be purchased. Indeed it was said of him by his
enemies, that so covetous was he of Barsetshire property, that he
would lead a young neighbour on to his ruin, in order that he might
get his land. What--oh! what if he should come to be possessed in
this way of any of the fair acres of Framley Court? What if he should
become possessed of them all? It can hardly be wondered at that Lady
Lufton should not like Chaldicotes.
The Chaldicotes set, as Lady Lufton called them, were in every way
opposed to what a set should be according to her ideas. She liked
cheerful, quiet, well-to-do people, who loved their Church, their
country, and their Queen, and who were not too anxious to make a
noise in the world. She desired that all the farmers round her should
be able to pay their rents without trouble, that all the old women
should have warm flannel petticoats, that the working men should
be saved from rheumatism by healthy food and dry houses, that they
should all be obedient to their pastors and masters--temporal as well
as spiritual. That was her idea of loving her country. She desired
also that the copses should be full of pheasants, the stubble-field
of partridges, and the gorse covers of foxes;--in that way, also, she
loved her country. She had ardently longed, during that Crimean war,
that the Russians might be beaten--but not by the French, to the
exclusion of the English, as had seemed to her to be too much the
case; and hardly by the English under the dictatorship of Lord
Palmerston. Indeed, she had had but little faith in that war after
Lord Aberdeen had been expelled. If, indeed, Lord Derby could have
But now as to this Chaldicotes set. After all, there was nothing
so very dangerous about them; for it was in London, not in the
country, that Mr. Sowerby indulged, if he did indulge, his bachelor
mal-practices. Speaking of them as a set, the chief offender was
Mr. Harold Smith, or perhaps his wife. He also was a member of
Parliament, and, as many thought, a rising man. His father had been
for many years a debater in the House, and had held high office.
Harold, in early life, had intended himself for the cabinet; and if
working hard at his trade could ensure success, he ought to obtain
it sooner or later. He had already filled more than one subordinate
station, had been at the Treasury, and for a month or two at the
Admiralty, astonishing official mankind by his diligence. Those
last-named few months had been under Lord Aberdeen, with whom he had
been forced to retire. He was a younger son, and not possessed of any
large fortune. Politics as a profession was therefore of importance
to him. He had in early life married a sister of Mr. Sowerby; and
as the lady was some six or seven years older than himself, and had
brought with her but a scanty dowry, people thought that in this
matter Mr. Harold Smith had not been perspicacious. Mr. Harold Smith
was not personally a popular man with any party, though some judged
him to be eminently useful. He was laborious, well-informed, and, on
the whole, honest; but he was conceited, long-winded, and pompous.
Mrs. Harold Smith was the very opposite of her lord. She was a
clever, bright woman, good-looking for her time of life--and she was
now over forty--with a keen sense of the value of all worldly things,
and a keen relish for all the world's pleasures. She was neither
laborious, nor well-informed, nor perhaps altogether honest--what
woman ever understood the necessity or recognized the advantage of
political honesty?--but then she was neither dull nor pompous, and
if she was conceited, she did not show it. She was a disappointed
woman, as regards her husband; seeing that she had married him on the
speculation that he would at once become politically important; and
as yet Mr. Smith had not quite fulfilled the prophecies of his early
And Lady Lufton, when she spoke of the Chaldicotes set, distinctly
included, in her own mind, the Bishop of Barchester, and his wife
and daughter. Seeing that Bishop Proudie was, of course, a man much
addicted to religion and to religious thinking, and that Mr. Sowerby
himself had no peculiar religious sentiments whatever, there would
not at first sight appear to be ground for much intercourse, and
perhaps there was not much of such intercourse; but Mrs. Proudie
and Mrs. Harold Smith were firm friends of four or five years'
standing--ever since the Proudies came into the diocese; and
therefore the bishop was usually taken to Chaldicotes whenever Mrs.
Smith paid her brother a visit. Now Bishop Proudie was by no means
a High Church dignitary, and Lady Lufton had never forgiven him for
coming into that diocese. She had, instinctively, a high respect
for the episcopal office; but of Bishop Proudie himself she hardly
thought better than she did of Mr. Sowerby, or of that fabricator of
evil, the Duke of Omnium. Whenever Mr. Robarts would plead that in
going anywhere he would have the benefit of meeting the bishop, Lady
Lufton would slightly curl her upper lip. She could not say in words,
that Bishop Proudie--bishop as he certainly must be called--was no
better than he ought to be; but by that curl of her lip she did
explain to those who knew her that such was the inner feeling of her
And then it was understood--Mark Robarts, at least, had so heard,
and the information soon reached Framley Court--that Mr. Supplehouse
was to make one of the Chaldicotes party. Now Mr. Supplehouse was a
worse companion for a gentlemanlike, young, High Church, conservative
county parson than even Harold Smith. He also was in Parliament, and
had been extolled during the early days of that Russian war by some
portion of the metropolitan daily press, as the only man who could
save the country. Let him be in the ministry, the "Jupiter" had said,
and there would be some hope of reform, some chance that England's
ancient glory would not be allowed in these perilous times to go
headlong to oblivion. And upon this the ministry, not anticipating
much salvation from Mr. Supplehouse, but willing, as they usually
are, to have the "Jupiter" at their back, did send for that
gentleman, and gave him some footing among them. But how can a man
born to save a nation, and to lead a people, be content to fill the
chair of an under-secretary? Supplehouse was not content, and soon
gave it to be understood that his place was much higher than any
yet tendered to him. The seals of high office, or war to the knife,
was the alternative which he offered to a much-belaboured Head of
Affairs--nothing doubting that the Head of Affairs would recognize
the claimant's value, and would have before his eyes a wholesome fear
of the "Jupiter". But the Head of Affairs, much belaboured as he was,
knew that he might pay too high even for Mr. Supplehouse and the
"Jupiter"; and the saviour of the nation was told that he might swing
his tomahawk. Since that time he had been swinging his tomahawk, but
not with so much effect as had been anticipated. He also was very
intimate with Mr. Sowerby, and was decidedly one of the Chaldicotes
And there were many others included in the stigma whose sins were
political or religious rather than moral. But they were gall and
wormwood to Lady Lufton, who regarded them as children of the Lost
One, and who grieved with a mother's grief when she knew that her son
was among them, and felt all a patron's anger when she heard that her
clerical "protégé" was about to seek such society. Mrs. Robarts might
well say that Lady Lufton would be annoyed.
"You won't call at the house before you go, will you?" the wife asked
on the following morning. He was to start after lunch on that day,
driving himself in his own gig, so as to reach Chaldicotes, some
twenty-four miles distant, before dinner.
"No, I think not. What good should I do?"
"Well, I can't explain; but I think I should call: partly, perhaps,
to show her that as I had determined to go, I was not afraid of
telling her so."
"Afraid! That's nonsense, Fanny. I'm not afraid of her. But I don't
see why I should bring down upon myself the disagreeable things she
will say. Besides, I have not time. I must walk up and see Jones
about the duties; and then, what with getting ready, I shall have
enough to do to get off in time."
He paid his visit to Mr. Jones, the curate, feeling no qualms
of conscience there, as he rather boasted of all the members of
Parliament he was going to meet, and of the bishop who would be with
them. Mr. Evan Jones was only his curate, and in speaking to him on
the matter he could talk as though it were quite the proper thing for
a vicar to meet his bishop at the house of a county member. And one
would be inclined to say that it was proper: only why could he not
talk of it in the same tone to Lady Lufton? And then, having kissed
his wife and children, he drove off, well pleased with his prospect
for the coming ten days, but already anticipating some discomfort on
On the three following days, Mrs. Robarts did not meet her ladyship.
She did not exactly take any steps to avoid such a meeting, but she
did not purposely go up to the big house. She went to her school as
usual, and made one or two calls among the farmers' wives, but put
no foot within the Framley Court grounds. She was braver than her
husband, but even she did not wish to anticipate the evil day.
On the Saturday, just before it began to get dusk, when she was
thinking of preparing for the fatal plunge, her friend, Lady
Meredith, came to her.
"So, Fanny, we shall again be so unfortunate as to miss Mr. Robarts,"
said her ladyship.
"Yes. Did you ever know anything so unlucky? But he had promised Mr.
Sowerby before he heard that you were coming. Pray do not think that
he would have gone away had he known it."
"We should have been sorry to keep him from so much more amusing a
"Now, Justinia, you are unfair. You intend to imply that he has gone
to Chaldicotes, because he likes it better than Framley Court; but
that is not the case. I hope Lady Lufton does not think that it is."
Lady Meredith laughed as she put her arm round her friend's waist.
"Don't lose your eloquence in defending him to me," she said. "You'll
want all that for my mother."
"But is your mother angry?" asked Mrs. Robarts, showing by her
countenance, how eager she was for true tidings on the subject.
"Well, Fanny, you know her ladyship as well as I do. She thinks so
very highly of the vicar of Framley, that she does begrudge him to
those politicians at Chaldicotes."
"But, Justinia, the bishop is to be there, you know."
"I don't think that that consideration will at all reconcile my
mother to the gentleman's absence. He ought to be very proud, I know,
to find that he is so much thought of. But come, Fanny, I want you to
walk back with me, and you can dress at the house. And now we'll go
and look at the children."
After that, as they walked together to Framley Court, Mrs. Robarts
made her friend promise that she would stand by her if any serious
attack were made on the absent clergyman.
"Are you going up to your room at once?" said the vicar's wife,
as soon as they were inside the porch leading into the hall. Lady
Meredith immediately knew what her friend meant, and decided that the
evil day should not be postponed. "We had better go in and have it
over," she said, "and then we shall be comfortable for the evening."
So the drawing-room door was opened, and there was Lady Lufton alone
upon the sofa.
"Now, mamma," said the daughter, "you mustn't scold Fanny much about
Mr. Robarts. He has gone to preach a charity sermon before the
bishop, and under those circumstances, perhaps, he could not refuse."
This was a stretch on the part of Lady Meredith--put in with much
good nature, no doubt; but still a stretch; for no one had supposed
that the bishop would remain at Chaldicotes for the Sunday.
"How do you do, Fanny?" said Lady Lufton, getting up. "I am not
going to scold her; and I don't know how you can talk such nonsense,
Justinia. Of course, we are very sorry not to have Mr. Robarts; more
especially as he was not here the last Sunday that Sir George was
with us. I do like to see Mr. Robarts in his own church, certainly;
and I don't like any other clergyman there as well. If Fanny takes
that for scolding, why--"
"Oh! no, Lady Lufton; and it's so kind of you to say so. But Mr.
Robarts was so sorry that he had accepted this invitation to
Chaldicotes, before he heard that Sir George was coming, and--"
"Oh, I know that Chaldicotes has great attractions which we cannot
offer," said Lady Lufton.
"Indeed, it was not that. But he was asked to preach, you know; and
Mr. Harold Smith--" Poor Fanny was only making it worse. Had she been
worldly wise, she would have accepted the little compliment implied
in Lady Lufton's first rebuke, and then have held her peace.
"Oh, yes; the Harold Smiths! They are irresistible, I know. How could
any man refuse to join a party, graced both by Mrs. Harold Smith and
Mrs. Proudie--even though his duty should require him to stay away?"
"Now, mamma--" said Justinia.
"Well, my dear, what am I to say? You would not wish me to tell a
fib. I don't like Mrs. Harold Smith--at least, what I hear of her;
for it has not been my fortune to meet her since her marriage. It
may be conceited; but to own the truth, I think that Mr. Robarts
would be better off with us at Framley than with the Harold Smiths at
Chaldicotes,--even though Mrs. Proudie be thrown into the bargain."
It was nearly dark, and therefore the rising colour in the face of
Mrs. Robarts could not be seen. She, however, was too good a wife to
hear these things said without some anger within her bosom. She could
blame her husband in her own mind; but it was intolerable to her that
others should blame him in her hearing.
"He would undoubtedly be better off," she said; "but then, Lady
Lufton, people can't always go exactly where they will be best off.
Gentlemen sometimes must--"
"Well--well, my dear, that will do. He has not taken you, at any
rate; and so we will forgive him." And Lady Lufton kissed her. "As it
is,"--and she affected a low whisper between the two young wives--"as
it is, we must e'en put up with poor old Evan Jones. He is to be here
to-night, and we must go and dress to receive him."
And so they went off. Lady Lufton was quite good enough at heart to
like Mrs. Robarts all the better for standing up for her absent lord.
Chaldicotes is a house of much more pretension than Framley Court.
Indeed, if one looks at the ancient marks about it, rather than
at those of the present day, it is a place of very considerable
pretension. There is an old forest, not altogether belonging to the
property, but attached to it, called the Chace of Chaldicotes. A
portion of this forest comes up close behind the mansion, and of
itself gives a character and celebrity to the place. The Chace of
Chaldicotes--the greater part of it, at least--is, as all the world
knows, Crown property, and now, in these utilitarian days, is to be
disforested. In former times it was a great forest, stretching half
across the country, almost as far as Silverbridge; and there are bits
of it, here and there, still to be seen at intervals throughout the
whole distance; but the larger remaining portion, consisting of aged
hollow oaks, centuries old, and wide-spreading withered beeches,
stands in the two parishes of Chaldicotes and Uffley. People still
come from afar to see the oaks of Chaldicotes, and to hear their feet
rustle among the thick autumn leaves. But they will soon come no
longer. The giants of past ages are to give way to wheat and turnips;
a ruthless Chancellor of the Exchequer, disregarding old associations
and rural beauty, requires money returns from the lands; and the
Chace of Chaldicotes is to vanish from the earth's surface.
Some part of it, however, is the private property of Mr. Sowerby,
who hitherto, through all his pecuniary distresses, has managed to
save from the axe and the auction-mart that portion of his paternal
heritage. The house of Chaldicotes is a large stone building,
probably of the time of Charles the Second. It is approached on both
fronts by a heavy double flight of stone steps. In the front of
the house a long, solemn, straight avenue through a double row of
lime-trees, leads away to lodge-gates, which stand in the centre of
the village of Chaldicotes; but to the rear the windows open upon
four different vistas, which run down through the forest: four open
green rides, which all converge together at a large iron gateway,
the barrier which divides the private grounds from the Chace. The
Sowerbys, for many generations, have been rangers of the Chace of
Chaldicotes, thus having almost as wide an authority over the Crown
forest as over their own. But now all this is to cease, for the
forest will be disforested.
It was nearly dark as Mark Robarts drove up through the avenue of
lime-trees to the hall-door; but it was easy to see that the house,
which was dead and silent as the grave through nine months of the
year, was now alive in all its parts. There were lights in many
of the windows, and a noise of voices came from the stables, and
servants were moving about, and dogs barked, and the dark gravel
before the front steps was cut up with many a coach-wheel.
"Oh, be that you, sir, Mr. Robarts?" said a groom, taking the
parson's horse by the head, and touching his own hat. "I hope I see
your reverence well?"
"Quite well, Bob, thank you. All well at Chaldicotes?"
"Pretty bobbish, Mr. Robarts. Deal of life going on here now, sir.
The bishop and his lady came this morning."
"Oh--ah--yes! I understood they were to be here. Any of the young
"One young lady. Miss Olivia, I think they call her, your reverence."
"And how's Mr. Sowerby?"
"Very well, your reverence. He, and Mr. Harold Smith, and Mr.
Fothergill--that's the duke's man of business, you know--is getting
off their horses now in the stable-yard there."
"Home from hunting--eh, Bob?"
"Yes, sir, just home, this minute." And then Mr. Robarts walked into
the house, his portmanteau following on a footboy's shoulder.
It will be seen that our young vicar was very intimate at
Chaldicotes; so much so that the groom knew him, and talked to him
about the people in the house. Yes; he was intimate there: much more
than he had given the Framley people to understand. Not that he had
wilfully and overtly deceived any one; not that he had ever spoken a
false word about Chaldicotes. But he had never boasted at home that
he and Sowerby were near allies. Neither had he told them there
how often Mr. Sowerby and Lord Lufton were together in London. Why
trouble women with such matters? Why annoy so excellent a woman as
And then Mr. Sowerby was one whose intimacy few young men would
wish to reject. He was fifty, and had lived, perhaps, not the most
salutary life; but he dressed young, and usually looked well. He was
bald, with a good forehead, and sparkling moist eyes. He was a clever
man, and a pleasant companion, and always good-humoured when it
so suited him. He was a gentleman, too, of high breeding and good
birth, whose ancestors had been known in that county--longer, the
farmers around would boast, than those of any other landowner in it,
unless it be the Thornes of Ullathorne, or perhaps the Greshams of
Greshamsbury--much longer than the De Courcys at Courcy Castle. As
for the Duke of Omnium, he, comparatively speaking, was a new man.
And then he was a member of Parliament, a friend of some men in
power, and of others who might be there; a man who could talk about
the world as one knowing the matter of which he talked. And moreover,
whatever might be his ways of life at other times, when in the
presence of a clergyman he rarely made himself offensive to clerical
tastes. He neither swore, nor brought his vices on the carpet, nor
sneered at the faith of the Church. If he was no churchman himself,
he at least knew how to live with those who were.
How was it possible that such a one as our vicar should not relish
the intimacy of Mr. Sowerby? It might be very well, he would say to
himself, for a woman like Lady Lufton to turn up her nose at him--for
Lady Lufton, who spent ten months of the year at Framley Court, and
who during those ten months, and for the matter of that, during the
two months also which she spent in London, saw no one out of her own
set. Women did not understand such things, the vicar said to himself;
even his own wife--good, and nice, and sensible, and intelligent as
she was--even she did not understand that a man in the world must
meet all sorts of men; and that in these days it did not do for a
clergyman to be a hermit.
'Twas thus that Mark Robarts argued when he found himself called upon
to defend himself before the bar of his own conscience for going to
Chaldicotes and increasing his intimacy with Mr. Sowerby. He did know
that Mr. Sowerby was a dangerous man; he was aware that he was over
head and ears in debt, and that he had already entangled young Lord
Lufton in some pecuniary embarrassment; his conscience did tell him
that it would be well for him, as one of Christ's soldiers, to look
out for companions of a different stamp. But nevertheless he went
to Chaldicotes, not satisfied with himself indeed, but repeating to
himself a great many arguments why he should be so satisfied.
He was shown into the drawing-room at once, and there he found Mrs.
Harold Smith, with Mrs. and Miss Proudie, and a lady whom he had
never before seen, and whose name he did not at first hear mentioned.
"Is that Mr. Robarts?" said Mrs. Harold Smith, getting up to greet
him, and screening her pretended ignorance under the veil of the
darkness. "And have you really driven over four-and-twenty miles of
Barsetshire roads on such a day as this to assist us in our little
difficulties? Well, we can promise you gratitude at any rate."
And then the vicar shook hands with Mrs. Proudie, in that deferential
manner which is due from a vicar to his bishop's wife; and Mrs.
Proudie returned the greeting with all that smiling condescension
which a bishop's wife should show to a vicar. Miss Proudie was not
quite so civil. Had Mr. Robarts been still unmarried, she also could
have smiled sweetly; but she had been exercising smiles on clergymen
too long to waste them now on a married parish parson.
"And what are the difficulties, Mrs. Smith, in which I am to assist
"We have six or seven gentlemen here, Mr. Robarts, and they always go
out hunting before breakfast, and they never come back--I was going
to say--till after dinner. I wish it were so, for then we should not
have to wait for them."
"Excepting Mr. Supplehouse, you know," said the unknown lady, in a
"And he is generally shut up in the library, writing articles."
"He'd be better employed if he were trying to break his neck like the
others," said the unknown lady.
"Only he would never succeed," said Mrs. Harold Smith. "But perhaps,
Mr. Robarts, you are as bad as the rest; perhaps you, too, will be
"My dear Mrs. Smith!" said Mrs. Proudie, in a tone denoting slight
reproach, and modified horror.
"Oh! I forgot. No, of course, you won't be hunting, Mr. Robarts;
you'll only be wishing that you could."
"Why can't he?" said the lady with the loud voice.
"My dear Miss Dunstable! a clergyman hunt, while he is staying in the
same house with the bishop? Think of the proprieties!"
"Oh--ah! The bishop wouldn't like it--wouldn't he? Now, do tell me,
sir, what would the bishop do to you if you did hunt?"
"It would depend upon his mood at the time, madam," said Mr. Robarts.
"If that were very stern, he might perhaps have me beheaded before
the palace gates."
Mrs. Proudie drew herself up in her chair, showing that she did
not like the tone of the conversation; and Miss Proudie fixed her
eyes vehemently on her book, showing that Miss Dunstable and her
conversation were both beneath her notice.
"If these gentlemen do not mean to break their necks to-night," said
Mrs. Harold Smith, "I wish they'd let us know it. It's half-past six
And then Mr. Robarts gave them to understand that no such catastrophe
could be looked for that day, as Mr. Sowerby and the other sportsmen
were within the stable-yard when he entered the door.
"Then, ladies, we may as well dress," said Mrs. Harold Smith. But
as she moved towards the door, it opened, and a short gentleman,
with a slow, quiet step, entered the room; but was not yet to be
distinguished through the dusk by the eyes of Mr. Robarts. "Oh!
bishop, is that you?" said Mrs. Smith. "Here is one of the luminaries
of your diocese." And then the bishop, feeling through the dark, made
his way up to the vicar and shook him cordially by the hand. "He
was delighted to meet Mr. Robarts at Chaldicotes," he said--"quite
delighted. Was he not going to preach on behalf of the Papuan Mission
next Sunday? Ah! so he, the bishop, had heard. It was a good work,
an excellent work." And then Dr. Proudie expressed himself as much
grieved that he could not remain at Chaldicotes, and hear the sermon.
It was plain that his bishop thought no ill of him on account of his
intimacy with Mr. Sowerby. But then he felt in his own heart that he
did not much regard his bishop's opinion.
"Ah, Robarts, I'm delighted to see you," said Mr. Sowerby, when they
met on the drawing-room rug before dinner. "You know Harold Smith?
Yes, of course you do. Well, who else is there? Oh! Supplehouse. Mr.
Supplehouse, allow me to introduce to you my friend Mr. Robarts. It
is he who will extract the five-pound note out of your pocket next
Sunday for these poor Papuans whom we are going to Christianize.
That is, if Harold Smith does not finish the work out of hand at his
Saturday lecture. And, Robarts, you have seen the bishop, of course:"
this he said in a whisper. "A fine thing to be a bishop, isn't it?
I wish I had half your chance. But, my dear fellow, I've made such a
mistake; I haven't got a bachelor parson for Miss Proudie. You must
help me out, and take her in to dinner." And then the great gong
sounded, and off they went in pairs.
At dinner Mark found himself seated between Miss Proudie and the lady
whom he had heard named as Miss Dunstable. Of the former he was not
very fond, and, in spite of his host's petition, was not inclined to
play bachelor parson for her benefit. With the other lady he would
willingly have chatted during the dinner, only that everybody else at
table seemed to be intent on doing the same thing. She was neither
young, nor beautiful, nor peculiarly ladylike; yet she seemed
to enjoy a popularity which must have excited the envy of Mr.
Supplehouse, and which certainly was not altogether to the taste
of Mrs. Proudie--who, however, fêted her as much as did the others.
So that our clergyman found himself unable to obtain more than an
inconsiderable share of the lady's attention.
"Bishop," said she, speaking across the table, "we have missed you so
all day! we have had no one on earth to say a word to us."
"My dear Miss Dunstable, had I known that-- But I really was engaged
on business of some importance."
"I don't believe in business of importance; do you, Mrs. Smith?"
"Do I not?" said Mrs. Smith. "If you were married to Mr. Harold Smith
for one week, you'd believe in it."
"Should I, now? What a pity that I can't have that chance of
improving my faith! But you are a man of business, also, Mr.
Supplehouse; so they tell me." And she turned to her neighbour on her
"I cannot compare myself to Harold Smith," said he. "But perhaps I
may equal the bishop."
"What does a man do, now, when he sits himself down to business? How
does he set about it? What are his tools? A quire of blotting paper,
I suppose, to begin with?"
"That depends, I should say, on his trade. A shoemaker begins by
waxing his thread."
"And Mr. Harold Smith--?"
"By counting up his yesterday's figures, generally, I should say;
or else by unrolling a ball of red tape. Well-docketed papers and
statistical facts are his forte."
"And what does a bishop do? Can you tell me that?"
"He sends forth to his clergy either blessings or blowings-up,
according to the state of his digestive organs. But Mrs. Proudie can
explain all that to you with the greatest accuracy."
"Can she, now? I understand what you mean, but I don't believe a word
of it. The bishop manages his own affairs himself, quite as much as
you do, or Mr. Harold Smith."
"I, Miss Dunstable?"
"But I, unluckily, have not a wife to manage them for me."
"Then you should not laugh at those who have, for you don't know what
you may come to yourself, when you're married."
Mr. Supplehouse began to make a pretty speech, saying that he would
be delighted to incur any danger in that respect to which he might
be subjected by the companionship of Miss Dunstable. But before he
was half through it, she had turned her back upon him, and begun a
conversation with Mark Robarts.
"Have you much work in your parish, Mr. Robarts?" she asked. Now,
Mark was not aware that she knew his name, or the fact of his having
a parish, and was rather surprised by the question. And he had not
quite liked the tone in which she had seemed to speak of the bishop
and his work. His desire for her further acquaintance was therefore
somewhat moderated, and he was not prepared to answer her question
with much zeal.
"All parish clergymen have plenty of work, if they choose to do it."
"Ah, that is it; is it not, Mr. Robarts? If they choose to do it? A
great many do--many that I know, do; and see what a result they have.
But many neglect it--and see what a result "they" have. I think it
ought to be the happiest life that a man can lead, that of a parish
clergyman, with a wife and family, and a sufficient income."
"I think it is," said Mark Robarts, asking himself whether the
contentment accruing to him from such blessings had made him
satisfied at all points. He had all these things of which Miss
Dunstable spoke, and yet he had told his wife, the other day, that he
could not afford to neglect the acquaintance of a rising politician
like Harold Smith.
"What I find fault with is this," continued Miss Dunstable, "that we
expect clergymen to do their duty, and don't give them a sufficient
income--give them hardly any income at all. Is it not a scandal,
that an educated gentleman with a family should be made to work half
his life, and perhaps the whole, for a pittance of seventy pounds a
Mark said that it was a scandal, and thought of Mr. Evan Jones and
his daughter;--and thought also of his own worth, and his own house,
and his own nine hundred a year.
"And yet you clergymen are so proud--aristocratic would be the
genteel word, I know--that you won't take the money of common,
ordinary poor people. You must be paid from land and endowments, from
tithe and church property. You can't bring yourself to work for what
you earn, as lawyers and doctors do. It is better that curates should
starve than undergo such ignominy as that."
"It is a long subject, Miss Dunstable."
"A very long one; and that means that I am not to say any more about
"I did not mean that exactly."
"Oh! but you did though, Mr. Robarts. And I can take a hint of that
kind when I get it. You clergymen like to keep those long subjects
for your sermons, when no one can answer you. Now if I have a longing
heart's desire for anything at all in this world, it is to be able to
get up into a pulpit, and preach a sermon."
"You can't conceive how soon that appetite would pall upon you, after
its first indulgence."
"That would depend upon whether I could get people to listen to me.
It does not pall upon Mr. Spurgeon, I suppose." Then her attention
was called away by some question from Mr. Sowerby, and Mark Robarts
found himself bound to address his conversation to Miss Proudie.
Miss Proudie, however, was not thankful, and gave him little but
monosyllables for his pains.
"Of course you know Harold Smith is going to give us a lecture about
these islanders," Mr. Sowerby said to him, as they sat round the fire
over their wine after dinner. Mark said that he had been so informed,
and should be delighted to be one of the listeners.
"You are bound to do that, as he is going to listen to you the day
afterwards--or, at any rate, to pretend to do so, which is as much as
you will do for him. It'll be a terrible bore--the lecture, I mean,
not the sermon." And he spoke very low into his friend's ear. "Fancy
having to drive ten miles after dusk, and ten miles back, to hear
Harold Smith talk for two hours about Borneo! One must do it, you
"I daresay it will be very interesting."
"My dear fellow, you haven't undergone so many of these things as I
have. But he's right to do it. It's his line of life; and when a man
begins a thing he ought to go on with it. Where's Lufton all this
"In Scotland, when I last heard from him; but he's probably at Melton
"It's deuced shabby of him, not hunting here in his own county. He
escapes all the bore of going to lectures, and giving feeds to the
neighbours; that's why he treats us so. He has no idea of his duty,
"Lady Lufton does all that, you know."
"I wish I'd a Mrs. Sowerby "mère" to do it for me. But then Lufton
has no constituents to look after--lucky dog! By-the-by, has he
spoken to you about selling that outlying bit of land of his in
Oxfordshire? It belongs to the Lufton property, and yet it doesn't.
In my mind it gives more trouble than it's worth."
Lord Lufton had spoken to Mark about this sale, and had explained to
him that such a sacrifice was absolutely necessary, in consequence
of certain pecuniary transactions between him, Lord Lufton, and Mr.
Sowerby. But it was found impracticable to complete the business
without Lady Lufton's knowledge, and her son had commissioned Mr.
Robarts not only to inform her ladyship, but to talk her over, and
to appease her wrath. This commission he had not yet attempted to
execute, and it was probable that this visit to Chaldicotes would not
do much to facilitate the business.
"They are the most magnificent islands under the sun," said Harold
Smith to the bishop.
"Are they, indeed!" said the bishop, opening his eyes wide, and
assuming a look of intense interest.
"And the most intelligent people."
"Dear me!" said the bishop.
"All they want is guidance, encouragement, instruction--"
"And Christianity," suggested the bishop.
"And Christianity, of course," said Mr. Smith, remembering that he
was speaking to a dignitary of the Church. It was well to humour such
people, Mr. Smith thought. But the Christianity was to be done in the
Sunday sermon, and was not part of his work.
"And how do you intend to begin with them?" asked Mr. Supplehouse,
the business of whose life it had been to suggest difficulties.
"Begin with them--oh--why--it's very easy to begin with them. The
difficulty is to go on with them, after the money is all spent. We'll
begin by explaining to them the benefits of civilization."
"Capital plan!" said Mr. Supplehouse. "But how do you set about it,
"How do we set about it? How did we set about it with Australia and
America? It is very easy to criticize; but in such matters the great
thing is to put one's shoulder to the wheel."
"We sent our felons to Australia," said Supplehouse, "and they began
the work for us. And as to America, we exterminated the people
instead of civilizing them."
"We did not exterminate the inhabitants of India," said Harold Smith,
"Nor have we attempted to Christianize them, as the bishop so
properly wishes to do with your islanders."
"Supplehouse, you are not fair," said Mr. Sowerby, "neither to Harold
Smith nor to us;--you are making him rehearse his lecture, which is
bad for him; and making us hear the rehearsal, which is bad for us."
"Supplehouse belongs to a clique which monopolizes the wisdom of
England," said Harold Smith; "or, at any rate, thinks that it
does. But the worst of them is that they are given to talk leading
"Better that, than talk articles which are not leading," said Mr.
Supplehouse. "Some first-class official men do that."
"Shall I meet you at the duke's next week, Mr. Robarts?" said the
bishop to him, soon after they had gone into the drawing-room.
Meet him at the duke's!--the established enemy of Barsetshire
mankind, as Lady Lufton regarded his grace! No idea of going to the
duke's had ever entered our hero's mind; nor had he been aware that
the duke was about to entertain any one.
"No, my lord; I think not. Indeed, I have no acquaintance with his
"Oh--ah! I did not know. Because Mr. Sowerby is going; and so are the
Harold Smiths, and, I think, Mr. Supplehouse. An excellent man is
the duke;--that is, as regards all the county interests," added the
bishop, remembering that the moral character of his bachelor grace
was not the very best in the world.
And then his lordship began to ask some questions about the church
affairs of Framley, in which a little interest as to Framley Court
was also mixed up, when he was interrupted by a rather sharp voice,
to which he instantly attended.
"Bishop," said the rather sharp voice; and the bishop trotted across
the room to the back of the sofa, on which his wife was sitting.
"Miss Dunstable thinks that she will be able to come to us for a
couple of days, after we leave the duke's."
"I shall be delighted above all things," said the bishop, bowing low
to the dominant lady of the day. For be it known to all men, that
Miss Dunstable was the great heiress of that name.
"Mrs. Proudie is so very kind as to say that she will take me in,
with my poodle, parrot, and pet old woman."
"I tell Miss Dunstable that we shall have quite room for any of her
suite," said Mrs. Proudie. "And that it will give us no trouble."
"'The labour we delight in physics pain,'" said the gallant bishop,
bowing low, and putting his hand upon his heart.
In the meantime, Mr. Fothergill had got hold of Mark Robarts. Mr.
Fothergill was a gentleman, and a magistrate of the county, but
he occupied the position of managing man on the Duke of Omnium's
estates. He was not exactly his agent; that is to say, he did not
receive his rents; but he "managed" for him, saw people, went about
the county, wrote letters, supported the electioneering interest,
did popularity when it was too much trouble for the duke to do it
himself, and was, in fact, invaluable. People in West Barsetshire
would often say that they did not know what "on earth" the duke would
do, if it were not for Mr. Fothergill. Indeed, Mr. Fothergill was
useful to the duke.
"Mr. Robarts," he said, "I am very happy to have the pleasure of
meeting you--very happy, indeed. I have often heard of you from our
Mark bowed, and said that he was delighted to have the honour of
making Mr. Fothergill's acquaintance.
"I am commissioned by the Duke of Omnium," continued Mr. Fothergill,
"to say how glad he will be if you will join his grace's party at
Gatherum Castle, next week. The bishop will be there, and indeed
nearly the whole set who are here now. The duke would have written
when he heard that you were to be at Chaldicotes; but things were
hardly quite arranged then, so his grace has left it for me to tell
you how happy he will be to make your acquaintance in his own house.
I have spoken to Sowerby," continued Mr. Fothergill, "and he very
much hopes that you will be able to join us."
Mark felt that his face became red when this proposition was made
to him. The party in the county to which he properly belonged--he
and his wife, and all that made him happy and respectable--looked
upon the Duke of Omnium with horror and amazement; and now he had
absolutely received an invitation to the duke's house! A proposition
was made to him that he should be numbered among the duke's friends!
And though in one sense he was sorry that the proposition was made
to him, yet in another he was proud of it. It is not every young
man, let his profession be what it may, who can receive overtures of
friendship from dukes without some elation. Mark, too, had risen in
the world, as far as he had yet risen, by knowing great people; and
he certainly had an ambition to rise higher. I will not degrade him
by calling him a tuft-hunter; but he undoubtedly had a feeling that
the paths most pleasant for a clergyman's feet were those which were
trodden by the great ones of the earth.
Nevertheless, at the moment he declined the duke's invitation. He
was very much flattered, he said, but the duties of his parish would
require him to return direct from Chaldicotes to Framley.
"You need not give me an answer to-night, you know," said Mr.
Fothergill. "Before the week is past, we will talk it over with
Sowerby and the bishop. It will be a thousand pities, Mr. Robarts,
if you will allow me to say so, that you should neglect such an
opportunity of knowing his grace."
When Mark went to bed, his mind was still set against going to the
duke's; but, nevertheless, he did feel that it was a pity that he
should not do so. After all, was it necessary that he should obey
Lady Lufton in all things?
A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE.
It is no doubt very wrong to long after a naughty thing. But
nevertheless we all do so. One may say that hankering after naughty
things is the very essence of the evil into which we have been
precipitated by Adam's fall. When we confess that we are all sinners,
we confess that we all long after naughty things.
And ambition is a great vice--as Mark Antony told us a long time
ago--a great vice, no doubt, if the ambition of the man be with
reference to his own advancement, and not to the advancement of
others. But then, how many of us are there who are not ambitious in
this vicious manner?
And there is nothing viler than the desire to know great
people--people of great rank, I should say; nothing worse than the
hunting of titles and worshipping of wealth. We all know this, and
say it every day of our lives. But presuming that a way into the
society of Park Lane was open to us, and a way also into that of
Bedford Row, how many of us are there who would prefer Bedford Row
because it is so vile to worship wealth and title?
I am led into these rather trite remarks by the necessity of putting
forward some sort of excuse for that frame of mind in which the Rev.
Mark Robarts awoke on the morning after his arrival at Chaldicotes.
And I trust that the fact of his being a clergyman will not be
allowed to press against him unfairly. Clergymen are subject to
the same passions as other men; and, as far as I can see, give way
to them, in one line or in another, almost as frequently. Every
clergyman should, by canonical rule, feel a personal disinclination
to a bishopric; but yet we do not believe that such personal
disinclination is generally very strong.
Mark's first thoughts when he woke on that morning flew back to Mr.
Fothergill's invitation. The duke had sent a special message to say
how peculiarly glad he, the duke, would be to make acquaintance
with him, the parson! How much of this message had been of Mr.
Fothergill's own manufacture, that Mark Robarts did not consider.
He had obtained a living at an age when other young clergymen are
beginning to think of a curacy, and he had obtained such a living as
middle-aged parsons in their dreams regard as a possible Paradise for
their old years. Of course he thought that all these good things had
been the results of his own peculiar merits. Of course he felt that
he was different from other parsons,--more fitted by nature for
intimacy with great persons, more urbane, more polished, and more
richly endowed with modern clerical well-to-do aptitudes. He was
grateful to Lady Lufton for what she had done for him; but perhaps
not so grateful as he should have been.
At any rate he was not Lady Lufton's servant, nor even her dependant.
So much he had repeated to himself on many occasions, and had gone
so far as to hint the same idea to his wife. In his career as parish
priest he must in most things be the judge of his own actions--and in
many also it was his duty to be the judge of those of his patroness.
The fact of Lady Lufton having placed him in the living, could by no
means make her the proper judge of his actions. This he often said
to himself; and he said as often that Lady Lufton certainly had a
hankering after such a judgment-seat.
Of whom generally did prime ministers and official bigwigs think it
expedient to make bishops and deans? Was it not, as a rule, of those
clergymen who had shown themselves able to perform their clerical
duties efficiently, and able also to take their place with ease in
high society? He was very well off certainly at Framley; but he
could never hope for anything beyond Framley, if he allowed himself
to regard Lady Lufton as a bugbear. Putting Lady Lufton and her
prejudices out of the question, was there any reason why he ought not
to accept the duke's invitation? He could not see that there was any
such reason. If any one could be a better judge on such a subject
than himself, it must be his bishop. And it was clear that the bishop
wished him to go to Gatherum Castle.
The matter was still left open to him. Mr. Fothergill had especially
explained that; and therefore his ultimate decision was as yet within
his own power. Such a visit would cost him some money, for he knew
that a man does not stay at great houses without expense; and then,
in spite of his good income, he was not very flush of money. He had
been down this year with Lord Lufton in Scotland. Perhaps it might be
more prudent for him to return home.
But then an idea came to him that it behoved him as a man and a
priest to break through that Framley thraldom under which he felt
that he did to a certain extent exist. Was it not the fact that he
was about to decline this invitation from fear of Lady Lufton? and
if so, was that a motive by which he ought to be actuated? It was
incumbent on him to rid himself of that feeling. And in this spirit
he got up and dressed.
There was hunting again on that day; and as the hounds were to meet
near Chaldicotes, and to draw some coverts lying on the verge of the
Chace, the ladies were to go in carriages through the drives of the
forest, and Mr. Robarts was to escort them on horseback. Indeed it
was one of those hunting-days got up rather for the ladies than for
the sport. Great nuisances they are to steady, middle-aged hunting
men; but the young fellows like them because they have thereby an
opportunity of showing off their sporting finery, and of doing a
little flirtation on horseback. The bishop, also, had been minded to
be of the party; so, at least, he had said on the previous evening;
and a place in one of the carriages had been set apart for him: but
since that, he and Mrs. Proudie had discussed the matter in private,
and at breakfast his lordship declared that he had changed his mind.
Mr. Sowerby was one of those men who are known to be very poor--as
poor as debt can make a man--but who, nevertheless, enjoy all the
luxuries which money can give. It was believed that he could not
live in England out of jail but for his protection as a member of
Parliament; and yet it seemed that there was no end to his horses
and carriages, his servants and retinue. He had been at this work
for a great many years, and practice, they say, makes perfect. Such
companions are very dangerous. There is no cholera, no yellow-fever,
no small-pox more contagious than debt. If one lives habitually among
embarrassed men, one catches it to a certainty. No one had injured
the community in this way more fatally than Mr. Sowerby. But still he
carried on the game himself; and now on this morning carriages and
horses thronged at his gate, as though he were as substantially rich
as his friend the Duke of Omnium.
"Robarts, my dear fellow," said Mr. Sowerby, when they were well
under way down one of the glades of the forest,--for the place
where the hounds met was some four or five miles from the house of
Chaldicotes,--"ride on with me a moment. I want to speak to you; and
if I stay behind we shall never get to the hounds." So Mark, who had
come expressly to escort the ladies, rode on alongside of Mr. Sowerby
in his pink coat.
"My dear fellow, Fothergill tells me that you have some hesitation
about going to Gatherum Castle."
"Well, I did decline, certainly. You know I am not a man of pleasure,
as you are. I have some duties to attend to."
"Gammon!" said Mr. Sowerby; and as he said it he looked with a kind
of derisive smile into the clergyman's face.
"It is easy enough to say that, Sowerby; and perhaps I have no right
to expect that you should understand me."
"Ah, but I do understand you; and I say it is gammon. I would be the
last man in the world to ridicule your scruples about duty, if this
hesitation on your part arose from any such scruple. But answer me
honestly, do you not know that such is not the case?"
"I know nothing of the kind."
"Ah, but I think you do. If you persist in refusing this invitation
will it not be because you are afraid of making Lady Lufton angry? I
do not know what there can be in that woman that she is able to hold
both you and Lufton in leading-strings."
Robarts, of course, denied the charge and protested that he was not
to be taken back to his own parsonage by any fear of Lady Lufton.
But though he made such protest with warmth, he knew that he did so
ineffectually. Sowerby only smiled and said that the proof of the
pudding was in the eating.
"What is the good of a man keeping a curate if it be not to save him
from that sort of drudgery?" he asked.
"Drudgery! If I were a drudge how could I be here to-day?"
"Well, Robarts, look here. I am speaking now, perhaps, with more of
the energy of an old friend than circumstances fully warrant; but
I am an older man than you, and as I have a regard for you I do not
like to see you throw up a good game when it is in your hands."
"Oh, as far as that goes, Sowerby, I need hardly tell you that I
appreciate your kindness."
"If you are content," continued the man of the world, "to live at
Framley all your life, and to warm yourself in the sunshine of the
dowager there, why, in such case, it may perhaps be useless for you
to extend the circle of your friends; but if you have higher ideas
than these, I think you will be very wrong to omit the present
opportunity of going to the duke's. I never knew the duke go so much
out of his way to be civil to a clergyman as he has done in this
"I am sure I am very much obliged to him."
"The fact is, that you may, if you please, make yourself popular
in the county; but you cannot do it by obeying all Lady Lufton's
behests. She is a dear old woman, I am sure."
"She is, Sowerby; and you would say so, if you knew her."
"I don't doubt it; but it would not do for you or me to live exactly
according to her ideas. Now, here, in this case, the bishop of the
diocese is to be one of the party, and he has, I believe, already
expressed a wish that you should be another."
"He asked me if I were going."
"Exactly; and Archdeacon Grantly will be there."
"Will he?" asked Mark. Now, that would be a great point gained, for
Archdeacon Grantly was a close friend of Lady Lufton.
"So I understand from Fothergill. Indeed, it will be very wrong of
you not to go, and I tell you so plainly; and what is more, when you
talk about your duty--you having a curate as you have--why, it is
gammon." These last words he spoke looking back over his shoulder
as he stood up in his stirrups, for he had caught the eye of the
huntsman, who was surrounded by his hounds, and was now trotting on
to join him.
During a great portion of the day, Mark found himself riding by the
side of Mrs. Proudie, as that lady leaned back in her carriage. And
Mrs. Proudie smiled on him graciously, though her daughter would not
do so. Mrs. Proudie was fond of having an attendant clergyman; and
as it was evident that Mr. Robarts lived among nice people--titled
dowagers, members of Parliament, and people of that sort--she was
quite willing to instal him as a sort of honorary chaplain "pro tem".
"I'll tell you what we have settled, Mrs. Harold Smith and I," said
Mrs. Proudie to him. "This lecture at Barchester will be so late on
Saturday evening, that you had all better come and dine with us."
Mark bowed and thanked her, and declared that he should be very happy
to make one of such a party. Even Lady Lufton could not object to
this, although she was not especially fond of Mrs. Proudie.
"And then they are to sleep at the hotel. It will really be too late
for ladies to think of going back so far at this time of the year. I
told Mrs. Harold Smith, and Miss Dunstable, too, that we could manage
to make room at any rate for them. But they will not leave the other
ladies; so they go to the hotel for that night. But, Mr. Robarts, the
bishop will never allow you to stay at the inn, so of course you will
take a bed at the palace."
It immediately occurred to Mark that as the lecture was to be given
on Saturday evening, the next morning would be Sunday; and, on that
Sunday, he would have to preach at Chaldicotes. "I thought they were
all going to return the same night," said he.
"Well, they did intend it; but you see Mrs. Smith is afraid."
"I should have to get back here on the Sunday morning, Mrs. Proudie."
"Ah, yes, that is bad--very bad, indeed. No one dislikes any
interference with the Sabbath more than I do. Indeed, if I am
particular about anything it is about that. But some works are works
of necessity, Mr. Robarts; are they not? Now you must necessarily
be back at Chaldicotes on Sunday morning!" And so the matter was
settled. Mrs. Proudie was very firm in general in the matter of
Sabbath-day observances; but when she had to deal with such persons
as Mrs. Harold Smith, it was expedient that she should give way a
little. "You can start as soon as it's daylight, you know, if you
like it, Mr. Robarts," said Mrs. Proudie.
There was not much to boast of as to the hunting, but it was a very
pleasant day for the ladies. The men rode up and down the grass roads
through the Chace, sometimes in the greatest possible hurry as though
they never could go quick enough; and then the coachmen would drive
very fast also, though they did not know why, for a fast pace of
movement is another of those contagious diseases. And then again
the sportsmen would move at an undertaker's pace, when the fox had
traversed and the hounds would be at a loss to know which was the
hunt and which was the heel; and then the carriage also would go
slowly, and the ladies would stand up and talk. And then the time for
lunch came; and altogether the day went by pleasantly enough.
"And so that's hunting, is it?" said Miss Dunstable.
"Yes, that's hunting," said Mr. Sowerby.
"I did not see any gentleman do anything that I could not do myself,
except there was one young man slipped off into the mud; and I
shouldn't like that."
"But there was no breaking of bones, was there, my dear?" said Mrs.
"And nobody caught any foxes," said Miss Dunstable. "The fact is,
Mrs. Smith, that I don't think much more of their sport than I do of
their business. I shall take to hunting a pack of hounds myself after
"Do, my dear, and I'll be your whipper-in. I wonder whether Mrs.
Proudie would join us."
"I shall be writing to the duke to-night," said Mr. Fothergill to
Mark, as they were all riding up to the stable-yard together. "You
will let me tell his grace that you will accept his invitation--will
"Upon my word, the duke is very kind," said Mark.
"He is very anxious to know you, I can assure you," said Fothergill.
What could a young flattered fool of a parson do, but say that he
would go? Mark did say that he would go; and in the course of the
evening his friend Mr. Sowerby congratulated him, and the bishop
joked with him and said that he knew that he would not give up good
company so soon; and Miss Dunstable said she would make him her
chaplain as soon as Parliament would allow quack doctors to have such
articles--an allusion which Mark did not understand, till he learned
that Miss Dunstable was herself the proprietress of the celebrated
Oil of Lebanon, invented by her late respected father, and patented
by him with such wonderful results in the way of accumulated fortune;
and Mrs. Proudie made him quite one of their party, talking to him
about all manner of church subjects; and then at last, even Miss
Proudie smiled on him, when she learned that he had been thought
worthy of a bed at a duke's castle. And all the world seemed to be
open to him.
But he could not make himself happy that evening. On the next morning
he must write to his wife; and he could already see the look of
painful sorrow which would fall upon his Fanny's brow when she
learned that her husband was going to be a guest at the Duke of
Omnium's. And he must tell her to send him money, and money was
scarce. And then, as to Lady Lufton, should he send her some message,
or should he not? In either case he must declare war against her. And
then did he not owe everything to Lady Lufton? And thus in spite of
all his triumphs he could not get himself to bed in a happy frame of
On the next day, which was Friday, he postponed the disagreeable
task of writing. Saturday would do as well; and on Saturday morning,
before they all started for Barchester, he did write. And his letter
ran as follows:--
Chaldicotes, -- November, 185--.
DEAREST LOVE,--You will be astonished when I tell you how
gay we all are here, and what further dissipations are in
store for us. The Arabins, as you supposed, are not of
our party; but the Proudies are,--as you supposed also.
Your suppositions are always right. And what will you
think when I tell you that I am to sleep at the palace
on Saturday? You know that there is to be a lecture in
Barchester on that day. Well; we must all go, of course,
as Harold Smith, one of our set here, is to give it. And
now it turns out that we cannot get back the same night
because there is no moon; and Mrs. Bishop would not allow
that my cloth should be contaminated by an hotel;--very
kind and considerate, is it not?
But I have a more astounding piece of news for you than
this. There is to be a great party at Gatherum Castle
next week, and they have talked me over into accepting an
invitation which the duke sent expressly to me. I refused
at first; but everybody here said that my doing so would
be so strange; and then they all wanted to know my reason.
When I came to render it, I did not know what reason I had
to give. The bishop is going, and he thought it very odd
that I should not go also, seeing that I was asked.
I know what my own darling will think, and I know that she
will not be pleased, and I must put off my defence till I
return to her from this ogre-land,--if ever I do get back
alive. But joking apart, Fanny, I think that I should
have been wrong to stand out, when so much was said about
it. I should have been seeming to take upon myself to
sit in judgment upon the duke. I doubt if there be a
single clergyman in the diocese, under fifty years of
age, who would have refused the invitation under such
circumstances,--unless it be Crawley, who is so mad on the
subject that he thinks it almost wrong to take a walk out
of his own parish.
I must stay at Gatherum Castle over Sunday week--indeed,
we only go there on Friday. I have written to Jones about
the duties. I can make it up to him, as I know he wishes
to go into Wales at Christmas. My wanderings will all be
over then, and he may go for a couple of months if he
pleases. I suppose you will take my classes in the school
on Sunday, as well as your own; but pray make them have a
good fire. If this is too much for you, make Mrs. Podgens
take the boys. Indeed I think that will be better.
Of course you will tell her ladyship of my whereabouts.
Tell her from me, that as regards the bishop, as well as
regarding another great personage, the colour has been
laid on perhaps a little too thickly. Not that Lady Lufton
would ever like him. Make her understand that my going to
the duke's has almost become a matter of conscience with
me. I have not known how to make it appear that it would
be right for me to refuse, without absolutely making a
party matter of it. I saw that it would be said, that I,
coming from Lady Lufton's parish, could not go to the Duke
of Omnium's. This I did not choose.
I find that I shall want a little more money before I
leave here, five or ten pounds--say ten pounds. If you
cannot spare it, get it from Davis. He owes me more than
that, a good deal.
And now, God bless and preserve you, my own love. Kiss my
darling bairns for papa, and give them my blessing.
Always and ever your own,
And then there was written, on an outside scrap which was folded
round the full-written sheet of paper, "Make it as smooth at Framley
Court as possible."
However strong, and reasonable, and unanswerable the body of Mark's
letter may have been, all his hesitation, weakness, doubt, and fear,
were expressed in this short postscript.
AMANTIUM IRÆ AMORIS INTEGRATIO.
And now, with my reader's consent, I will follow the postman with
that letter to Framley; not by its own circuitous route indeed, or by
the same mode of conveyance; for that letter went into Barchester by
the Courcy night mail-cart, which, on its road, passes through the
villages of Uffley and Chaldicotes, reaching Barchester in time for
the up mail-train to London. By that train, the letter was sent
towards the metropolis as far as the junction of the Barset branch
line, but there it was turned in its course, and came down again by
the main line as far as Silverbridge; at which place, between six
and seven in the morning, it was shouldered by the Framley footpost
messenger, and in due course delivered at the Framley Parsonage
exactly as Mrs. Robarts had finished reading prayers to the four
servants. Or, I should say rather, that such would in its usual
course have been that letter's destiny. As it was, however, it
reached Silverbridge on Sunday, and lay there till the Monday, as
the Framley people have declined their Sunday post. And then again,
when the letter was delivered at the parsonage, on that wet Monday
morning, Mrs. Robarts was not at home. As we are all aware, she was
staying with her ladyship at Framley Court.
"Oh, but it's mortial wet," said the shivering postman as he handed
in that and the vicar's newspaper. The vicar was a man of the world,
and took the "Jupiter".
"Come in, Robin postman, and warm theeself awhile," said Jemima the
cook, pushing a stool a little to one side, but still well in front
of the big kitchen fire.
"Well, I dudna jist know how it'll be. The wery 'edges 'as eyes
and tells on me in Silverbridge, if I so much as stops to pick a
"There bain't no hedges here, mon, nor yet no blackberries; so sit
thee down and warm theeself. That's better nor blackberries I'm
thinking," and she handed him a bowl of tea with a slice of buttered
Robin postman took the proffered tea, put his dripping hat on the
ground, and thanked Jemima cook. "But I dudna jist know how it'll
be," said he; "only it do pour so tarnation heavy." Which among us,
O my readers, could have withstood that temptation?
Such was the circuitous course of Mark's letter; but as it left
Chaldicotes on Saturday evening, and reached Mrs. Robarts on the
following morning, or would have done, but for that intervening
Sunday, doing all its peregrinations during the night, it may be held
that its course of transport was not inconveniently arranged. We,
however, will travel by a much shorter route.
Robin, in the course of his daily travels, passed, first the
post-office at Framley, then the Framley Court back entrance, and
then the vicar's house, so that on this wet morning Jemima cook was
not able to make use of his services in transporting this letter back
to her mistress; for Robin had got another village before him,
expectant of its letters.
"Why didn't thee leave it, mon, with Mr. Applejohn at the Court?" Mr.
Applejohn was the butler who took the letter-bag. "Thee know'st as
how missus was there."
And then Robin, mindful of the tea and toast, explained to her
courteously how the law made it imperative on him to bring the letter
to the very house that was indicated, let the owner of the letter be
where she might; and he laid down the law very satisfactorily with
sundry long-worded quotations. Not to much effect, however, for the
housemaid called him an oaf; and Robin would decidedly have had the
worst of it had not the gardener come in and taken his part. "They
women knows nothin', and understands nothin'," said the gardener.
"Give us hold of the letter. I'll take it up to the house. It's the
master's fist." And then Robin postman went on one way, and the
gardener, he went the other. The gardener never disliked an excuse
for going up to the Court gardens, even on so wet a day as this.
Mrs. Robarts was sitting over the drawing-room fire with Lady
Meredith, when her husband's letter was brought to her. The Framley
Court letter-bag had been discussed at breakfast; but that was now
nearly an hour since, and Lady Lufton, as was her wont, was away
in her own room writing her own letters, and looking after her own
matters: for Lady Lufton was a person who dealt in figures herself,
and understood business almost as well as Harold Smith. And on that
morning she also had received a letter which had displeased her not
a little. Whence arose this displeasure neither Mrs. Robarts nor Lady
Meredith knew; but her ladyship's brow had grown black at breakfast
time; she had bundled up an ominous-looking epistle into her bag
without speaking of it, and had left the room immediately that
breakfast was over.
"There's something wrong," said Sir George.
"Mamma does fret herself so much about Ludovic's money matters," said
Lady Meredith. Ludovic was Lord Lufton,--Ludovic Lufton, Baron Lufton
of Lufton, in the county of Oxfordshire.
"And yet I don't think Lufton gets much astray," said Sir George,
as he sauntered out of the room. "Well, Justy; we'll put off going
then till to-morrow; but remember, it must be the first train."
Lady Meredith said she would remember, and then they went into the
drawing-room, and there Mrs. Robarts received her letter.
Fanny, when she read it, hardly at first realized to herself the
idea that her husband, the clergyman of Framley, the family clerical
friend of Lady Lufton's establishment, was going to stay with the
Duke of Omnium. It was so thoroughly understood at Framley Court that
the duke and all belonging to him was noxious and damnable. He was a
Whig, he was a bachelor, he was a gambler, he was immoral in every
way, he was a man of no church principle, a corrupter of youth, a
sworn foe of young wives, a swallower up of small men's patrimonies;
a man whom mothers feared for their sons, and sisters for their
brothers; and worse again, whom fathers had cause to fear for their
daughters, and brothers for their sisters;--a man who, with his
belongings, dwelt, and must dwell, poles asunder from Lady Lufton and
And it must be remembered that all these evil things were fully
believed by Mrs. Robarts. Could it really be that her husband was
going to dwell in the halls of Apollyon, to shelter himself beneath
the wings of this very Lucifer? A cloud of sorrow settled upon her
face, and then she read the letter again very slowly, not omitting
the tell-tale postscript.
"Oh, Justinia!" at last she said.
"What, have you got bad news, too?"
"I hardly know how to tell you what has occurred. There; I suppose
you had better read it;" and she handed her husband's epistle to Lady
Meredith,--keeping back, however, the postscript.
"What on earth will her ladyship say now?" said Lady Meredith, as she
folded the paper, and replaced it in the envelope.
"What had I better do, Justinia? how had I better tell her?" And then
the two ladies put their heads together, bethinking themselves how
they might best deprecate the wrath of Lady Lufton. It had been
arranged that Mrs. Robarts should go back to the parsonage after
lunch, and she had persisted in her intention after it had been
settled that the Merediths were to stay over that evening. Lady
Meredith now advised her friend to carry out this determination
without saying anything about her husband's terrible iniquities, and
then to send the letter up to Lady Lufton as soon as she reached the
parsonage. "Mamma will never know that you received it here," said
But Mrs. Robarts would not consent to this. Such a course seemed to
her to be cowardly. She knew that her husband was doing wrong; she
felt that he knew it himself; but still it was necessary that she
should defend him. However terrible might be the storm, it must break
upon her own head. So she at once went up and tapped at Lady Lufton's
private door; and as she did so Lady Meredith followed her.
"Come in," said Lady Lufton, and the voice did not sound soft and
pleasant. When they entered, they found her sitting at her little
writing table, with her head resting on her arm, and that letter
which she had received that morning was lying open on the table
before her. Indeed there were two letters now there, one from a
London lawyer to herself, and the other from her son to that London
lawyer. It needs only be explained that the subject of those letters
was the immediate sale of that outlying portion of the Lufton
property in Oxfordshire, as to which Mr. Sowerby once spoke. Lord
Lufton had told the lawyer that the thing must be done at once,
adding that his friend Robarts would have explained the whole affair
to his mother. And then the lawyer had written to Lady Lufton, as
indeed was necessary; but unfortunately Lady Lufton had not hitherto
heard a word of the matter.
In her eyes the sale of family property was horrible; the fact that a
young man with some fifteen or twenty thousand a year should require
subsidiary money was horrible; that her own son should have not
written to her himself was horrible; and it was also horrible that
her own pet, the clergyman whom she had brought there to be her
son's friend, should be mixed up in the matter,--should be cognizant
of it while she was not cognizant,--should be employed in it as a
go-between and agent in her son's bad courses. It was all horrible,
and Lady Lufton was sitting there with a black brow and an uneasy
heart. As regarded our poor parson, we may say that in this matter
he was blameless, except that he had hitherto lacked the courage to
execute his friend's commission.
"What is it, Fanny?" said Lady Lufton as soon as the door was opened;
"I should have been down in half-an-hour, if you wanted me,
"Fanny has received a letter which makes her wish to speak to you at
once," said Lady Meredith. "What letter, Fanny?"
Poor Fanny's heart was in her mouth; she held it in her hand, but had
not yet quite made up her mind whether she would show it bodily to
"From Mr. Robarts," she said.
"Well; I suppose he is going to stay another week at Chaldicotes. For
my part I should be as well pleased;" and Lady Lufton's voice was
not friendly, for she was thinking of that farm in Oxfordshire. The
imprudence of the young is very sore to the prudence of their elders.
No woman could be less covetous, less grasping than Lady Lufton; but
the sale of a portion of the old family property was to her as the
loss of her own heart's blood.
"Here is the letter, Lady Lufton; perhaps you had better read it;"
and Fanny handed it to her, again keeping back the postscript. She
had read and re-read the letter downstairs, but could not make out
whether her husband had intended her to show it. From the line of the
argument she thought that he must have done so. At any rate he said
for himself more than she could say for him, and so, probably, it was
best that her ladyship should see it.
Lady Lufton took it, and read it, and her face grew blacker and
blacker. Her mind was set against the writer before she began it, and
every word in it tended to make her feel more estranged from him.
"Oh, he is going to the palace, is he?--well; he must choose his own
friends. Harold Smith one of his party! It's a pity, my dear, he did
not see Miss Proudie before he met you, he might have lived to be the
bishop's chaplain. Gatherum Castle! You don't mean to tell me that he
is going there? Then I tell you fairly, Fanny, that I have done with
"Oh, Lady Lufton, don't say that," said Mrs. Robarts, with tears in
"Mamma, mamma, don't speak in that way," said Lady Meredith.
"But my dear, what am I to say? I must speak in that way. You would
not wish me to speak falsehoods, would you? A man must choose for
himself, but he can't live with two different sets of people; at
least, not if I belong to one and the Duke of Omnium to the other.
The bishop going indeed! If there be anything that I hate it is
"There is no hypocrisy in that, Lady Lufton."
"But I say there is, Fanny. Very strange, indeed! 'Put off his
defence!' Why should a man need any defence to his wife if he acts in
a straightforward way? His own language condemns him: 'Wrong to stand
out!' Now, will either of you tell me that Mr. Robarts would really
have thought it wrong to refuse that invitation? I say that that is
hypocrisy. There is no other word for it."
By this time the poor wife, who had been in tears, was wiping them
away and preparing for action. Lady Lufton's extreme severity gave
her courage. She knew that it behoved her to fight for her husband
when he was thus attacked. Had Lady Lufton been moderate in her
remarks Mrs. Robarts would not have had a word to say.
"My husband may have been ill-judged," she said, "but he is no
"Very well, my dear, I dare say you know better than I; but to me it
looks extremely like hypocrisy: eh, Justinia?"
"Oh, mamma, do be moderate."
"Moderate! That's all very well. How is one to moderate one's
feelings when one has been betrayed?"
"You do not mean that Mr. Robarts has betrayed you?" said the wife.
"Oh, no; of course not." And then she went on reading the letter:
"'Seem to have been standing in judgment upon the duke.' Might he
not use the same argument as to going into any house in the kingdom,
however infamous? We must all stand in judgment one upon another in
that sense. 'Crawley!' Yes; if he were a little more like Mr. Crawley
it would be a good thing for me, and for the parish, and for you too,
my dear. God forgive me for bringing him here; that's all."
"Lady Lufton, I must say that you are very hard upon him--very hard.
I did not expect it from such a friend."
"My dear, you ought to know me well enough to be sure that I shall
speak my mind. 'Written to Jones'--yes; it is easy enough to write to
poor Jones. He had better write to Jones, and bid him do the whole
duty. Then he can go and be the duke's domestic chaplain."
"I believe my husband does as much of his own duty as any clergyman
in the whole diocese," said Mrs. Robarts, now again in tears.
"And you are to take his work in the school; you and Mrs. Podgens.
What with his curate and his wife and Mrs. Podgens, I don't see why
he should come back at all."
"Oh, mamma," said Justinia, "pray, pray don't be so harsh to her."
"Let me finish it, my dear;--oh, here I come. 'Tell her ladyship my
whereabouts.' He little thought you'd show me this letter."
"Didn't he?" said Mrs. Robarts, putting out her hand to get it back,
but in vain. "I thought it was for the best; I did indeed."
"I had better finish it now, if you please. What is this? How does
he dare send his ribald jokes to me in such a matter? No, I do not
suppose I ever shall like Dr. Proudie; I have never expected it. A
matter of conscience with him! Well--well, well. Had I not read it
myself, I could not have believed it of him. I would not positively
have believed it. 'Coming from my parish he could not go to the Duke
of Omnium!' And it is what I would wish to have said. People fit for
this parish should not be fit for the Duke of Omnium's house. And I
had trusted that he would have this feeling more strongly than any
one else in it. I have been deceived--that's all."
"He has done nothing to deceive you, Lady Lufton."
"I hope he will not have deceived you, my dear. 'More money;' yes,
it is probable that he will want more money. There is your letter,
Fanny. I am very sorry for it. I can say nothing more." And she
folded up the letter and gave it back to Mrs. Robarts.
"I thought it right to show it you," said Mrs. Robarts.
"It did not much matter whether you did or no; of course I must have
"He especially begs me to tell you."
"Why, yes; he could not very well have kept me in the dark in such
a matter. He could not neglect his own work, and go and live with
gamblers and adulterers at the Duke of Omnium's without my knowing
And now Fanny Robarts's cup was full, full to the overflowing. When
she heard these words she forgot all about Lady Lufton, all about
Lady Meredith, and remembered only her husband,--that he was her
husband, and, in spite of his faults, a good and loving husband;--and
that other fact also she remembered, that she was his wife.
"Lady Lufton," she said, "you forget yourself in speaking in that way
of my husband."
"What!" said her ladyship; "you are to show me such a letter as that,
and I am not to tell you what I think?"
"Not if you think such hard things as that. Even you are not
justified in speaking to me in that way, and I will not hear it."
"Heighty-tighty!" said her ladyship.
"Whether or no he is right in going to the Duke of Omnium's, I will
not pretend to judge. He is the judge of his own actions, and neither
you nor I."
"And when he leaves you with the butcher's bill unpaid and no money
to buy shoes for the children, who will be the judge then?"
"Not you, Lady Lufton. If such bad days should ever come--and neither
you nor I have a right to expect them--I will not come to you in my
troubles; not after this."
"Very well, my dear. You may go to the Duke of Omnium if that suits
"Fanny, come away," said Lady Meredith. "Why should you try to anger
"I don't want to anger her; but I won't hear him abused in that way
without speaking up for him. If I don't defend him, who will? Lady
Lufton has said terrible things about him; and they are not true."
"Oh, Fanny!" said Justinia.
"Very well, very well!" said Lady Lufton. "This is the sort of return
that one gets."
"I don't know what you mean by return, Lady Lufton: but would you
wish me to stand by quietly and hear such things said of my husband?
He does not live with such people as you have named. He does not
neglect his duties. If every clergyman were as much in his parish,
it would be well for some of them. And in going to such a house as
the Duke of Omnium's it does make a difference that he goes there
in company with the bishop. I can't explain why, but I know that it
"Especially when the bishop is coupled up with the devil, as Mr.
Robarts has done," said Lady Lufton; "he can join the duke with them
and then they'll stand for the three Graces, won't they, Justinia?"
And Lady Lufton laughed a bitter little laugh at her own wit.
"I suppose I may go now, Lady Lufton."
"Oh, yes, certainly, my dear."
"I am sorry if I have made you angry with me; but I will not allow
any one to speak against Mr. Robarts without answering them. You have
been very unjust to him; and even though I do anger you, I must say
"Come, Fanny; this is too bad," said Lady Lufton. "You have been
scolding me for the last half-hour because I would not congratulate
you on this new friend that your husband has made, and now you are
going to begin it all over again. That is more than I can stand. If
you have nothing else particular to say, you might as well leave me."
And Lady Lufton's face as she spoke was unbending, severe, and harsh.
Mrs. Robarts had never before been so spoken to by her old friend;
indeed she had never been so spoken to by any one, and she hardly
knew how to bear herself.
"Very well, Lady Lufton," she said; "then I will go. Good-bye."
"Good-bye," said Lady Lufton, and turning herself to her table she
began to arrange her papers. Fanny had never before left Framley
Court to go back to her own parsonage without a warm embrace. Now she
was to do so without even having her hand taken. Had it come to this,
that there was absolutely to be a quarrel between them,--a quarrel
"Fanny is going, you know, mamma," said Lady Meredith. "She will be
home before you are down again."
"I cannot help it, my dear. Fanny must do as she pleases. I am not to
be the judge of her actions. She has just told me so."
Mrs. Robarts had said nothing of the kind, but she was far too
proud to point this out. So with a gentle step she retreated
through the door, and then Lady Meredith, having tried what a
conciliatory whisper with her mother would do, followed her. Alas,
the conciliatory whisper was altogether ineffectual!
The two ladies said nothing as they descended the stairs, but when
they had regained the drawing-room they looked with blank horror into
each other's faces. What were they to do now? Of such a tragedy as
this they had had no remotest preconception. Was it absolutely the
case that Fanny Robarts was to walk out of Lady Lufton's house as a
declared enemy,--she who, before her marriage as well as since, had
been almost treated as an adopted daughter of the family?
"Oh, Fanny, why did you answer my mother in that way?" said Lady
Meredith. "You saw that she was vexed. She had other things to vex
her besides this about Mr. Robarts."
"And would not you answer any one who attacked Sir George?"
"No, not my own mother. I would let her say what she pleased, and
leave Sir George to fight his own battles."
"Ah, but it is different with you. You are her daughter, and Sir
George--she would not dare to speak in that way as to Sir George's
"Indeed she would, if it pleased her. I am sorry I let you go up to
"It is as well that it should be over, Justinia. As those are her
thoughts about Mr. Robarts, it is quite as well that we should know
them. Even for all that I owe to her, and all the love I bear to you,
I will not come to this house if I am to hear my husband abused;--not
into any house."
"My dearest Fanny, we all know what happens when two angry people get
"I was not angry when I went up to her; not in the least."
"It is no good looking back. What are we to do now, Fanny?"
"I suppose I had better go home," said Mrs. Robarts. "I will go and
put my things up, and then I will send James for them."
"Wait till after lunch, and then you will be able to kiss my mother
before you leave us."
"No, Justinia; I cannot wait. I must answer Mr. Robarts by this post,
and I must think what I have to say to him. I could not write that
letter here, and the post goes at four." And Mrs. Robarts got up from
her chair, preparatory to her final departure.
"I shall come to you before dinner," said Lady Meredith; "and if I
can bring you good tidings, I shall expect you to come back here with
me. It is out of the question that I should go away from Framley
leaving you and my mother at enmity with each other."
To this Mrs. Robarts made no answer; and in a very few minutes
afterwards she was in her own nursery, kissing her children, and
teaching the elder one to say something about papa. But, even as she
taught him, the tears stood in her eyes, and the little fellow knew
that everything was not right.
And there she sat till about two, doing little odds and ends of
things for the children, and allowing that occupation to stand as an
excuse to her for not commencing her letter. But then there remained
only two hours to her, and it might be that the letter would be
difficult in the writing--would require thought and changes, and must
needs be copied, perhaps more than once. As to the money, that she
had in the house--as much, at least, as Mark now wanted, though the
sending of it would leave her nearly penniless. She could, however,
in case of personal need, resort to Davis as desired by him.
So she got out her desk in the drawing-room and sat down and wrote
her letter. It was difficult, though she found that it hardly took so
long as she expected. It was difficult, for she felt bound to tell
him the truth; and yet she was anxious not to spoil all his pleasure
among his friends. She told him, however, that Lady Lufton was very
angry, "unreasonably angry, I must say," she put in, in order to
show that she had not sided against him. "And indeed we have quite
quarrelled, and this has made me unhappy, as it will you, dearest;
I know that. But we both know how good she is at heart, and Justinia
thinks that she had other things to trouble her; and I hope it will
all be made up before you come home; only, dearest Mark, pray do not
be longer than you said in your last letter." And then there were
three or four paragraphs about the babies and two about the schools,
which I may as well omit.
She had just finished her letter, and was carefully folding it for
its envelope, with the two whole five-pound notes imprudently placed
within it, when she heard a footstep on the gravel path which led
up from a small wicket to the front-door. The path ran near the
drawing-room window, and she was just in time to catch a glimpse
of the last fold of a passing cloak. "It is Justinia," she said
to herself; and her heart became disturbed at the idea of again
discussing the morning's adventure. "What am I to do," she had said
to herself before, "if she wants me to beg her pardon? I will not own
before her that he is in the wrong."
And then the door opened--for the visitor made her entrance without
the aid of any servant--and Lady Lufton herself stood before her.
"Fanny," she said at once, "I have come to beg your pardon."
"Oh, Lady Lufton!"
"I was very much harassed when you came to me just now;--by more
things than one, my dear. But, nevertheless, I should not have spoken
to you of your husband as I did, and so I have come to beg your
Mrs. Robarts was past answering by the time that this was said,--past
answering at least in words; so she jumped up and, with her eyes
full of tears, threw herself into her old friend's arms. "Oh, Lady
Lufton!" she sobbed forth again.
"You will forgive me, won't you?" said her ladyship, as she returned
her young friend's caress. "Well, that's right. I have not been at
all happy since you left my den this morning, and I don't suppose you
have. But, Fanny, dearest, we love each other too well and know each
other too thoroughly, to have a long quarrel, don't we?"
"Oh, yes, Lady Lufton."
"Of course we do. Friends are not to be picked up on the road-side
every day; nor are they to be thrown away lightly. And now sit down,
my love, and let us have a little talk. There, I must take my bonnet
off. You have pulled the strings so that you have almost choked me."
And Lady Lufton deposited her bonnet on the table and seated herself
comfortably in the corner of the sofa.
"My dear," she said, "there is no duty which any woman owes to any
other human being at all equal to that which she owes to her husband,
and, therefore, you were quite right to stand up for Mr. Robarts this
Upon this Mrs. Robarts said nothing, but she got her hand within that
of her ladyship and gave it a slight squeeze.
"And I loved you for what you were doing all the time. I did, my
dear; though you were a little fierce, you know. Even Justinia admits
that, and she has been at me ever since you went away. And indeed,
I did not know that it was in you to look in that way out of those
pretty eyes of yours."
"Oh, Lady Lufton!"
"But I looked fierce enough too myself, I dare say; so we'll say
nothing more about that; will we? But now, about this good man of
"Dear Lady Lufton, you must forgive him."
"Well: as you ask me, I will. We'll have nothing more said about the
duke, either now or when he comes back; not a word. Let me see--he's
to be back;--when is it?"
"Wednesday week, I think."
"Ah, Wednesday. Well, tell him to come and dine up at the house on
Wednesday. He'll be in time, I suppose, and there shan't be a word
said about this horrid duke."
"I am so much obliged to you, Lady Lufton."
"But look here, my dear; believe me, he's better off without such
"Oh, I know he is; much better off."
"Well, I'm glad you admit that, for I thought you seemed to be in
favour of the duke."
"Oh, no, Lady Lufton."
"That's right, then. And now, if you'll take my advice, you'll use
your influence, as a good, dear sweet wife as you are, to prevent his
going there any more. I'm an old woman and he is a young man, and
it's very natural that he should think me behind the times. I'm not
angry at that. But he'll find that it's better for him, better for
him in every way, to stick to his old friends. It will be better for
his peace of mind, better for his character as a clergyman, better
for his pocket, better for his children and for you,--and better for
his eternal welfare. The duke is not such a companion as he should
seek;--nor if he is sought, should he allow himself to be led away."
And then Lady Lufton ceased, and Fanny Robarts kneeling at her feet
sobbed, with her face hidden on her friend's knees. She had not
a word now to say as to her husband's capability of judging for
"And now I must be going again; but Justinia has made me
promise,--promise, mind you, most solemnly, that I would have you
back to dinner to-night,--by force if necessary. It was the only
way I could make my peace with her; so you must not leave me in the
lurch." Of course, Fanny said that she would go and dine at Framley
"And you must not send that letter, by any means," said her ladyship
as she was leaving the room, poking with her umbrella at the epistle,
which lay directed on Mrs. Robarts's desk. "I can understand very
well what it contains. You must alter it altogether, my dear." And
then Lady Lufton went.
Mrs. Robarts instantly rushed to her desk and tore open her letter.
She looked at her watch and it was past four. She had hardly begun
another when the postman came. "Oh, Mary," she said, "do make him
wait. If he'll wait a quarter of an hour I'll give him a shilling."
"There's no need of that, ma'am. Let him have a glass of beer."
"Very well, Mary; but don't give him too much, for fear he should
drop the letters about. I'll be ready in ten minutes."
And in five minutes she had scrawled a very different sort of a
letter. But he might want the money immediately, so she would not
delay it for a day.
MR. HAROLD SMITH'S LECTURE.
On the whole the party at Chaldicotes was very pleasant, and the
time passed away quickly enough. Mr. Robarts's chief friend there,
independently of Mr. Sowerby, was Miss Dunstable, who seemed to take
a great fancy to him, whereas she was not very accessible to the
blandishments of Mr. Supplehouse, nor more specially courteous
even to her host than good manners required of her. But then Mr.
Supplehouse and Mr. Sowerby were both bachelors, while Mark Robarts
was a married man.
With Mr. Sowerby Robarts had more than one communication respecting
Lord Lufton and his affairs, which he would willingly have avoided
had it been possible. Sowerby was one of those men who are always
mixing up business with pleasure, and who have usually some scheme
in their mind which requires forwarding. Men of this class have, as
a rule, no daily work, no regular routine of labour; but it may be
doubted whether they do not toil much more incessantly than those who
"Lufton is so dilatory," Mr. Sowerby said. "Why did he not arrange
this at once, when he promised it? And then he is so afraid of that
old woman at Framley Court. Well, my dear fellow, say what you will;
she is an old woman and she'll never be younger. But do write to
Lufton and tell him that this delay is inconvenient to me; he'll do
anything for you, I know."
Mark said that he would write, and, indeed, did do so; but he did not
at first like the tone of the conversation into which he was dragged.
It was very painful to him to hear Lady Lufton called an old woman,
and hardly less so to discuss the propriety of Lord Lufton's parting
with his property. This was irksome to him, till habit made it easy.
But by degrees his feelings became less acute, and he accustomed
himself to his friend Sowerby's mode of talking.
And then on the Saturday afternoon they all went over to Barchester.
Harold Smith during the last forty-eight hours had become crammed
to overflowing with Sarawak, Labuan, New Guinea, and the Salomon
Islands. As is the case with all men labouring under temporary
specialities, he for the time had faith in nothing else, and was
not content that any one near him should have any other faith. They
called him Viscount Papua and Baron Borneo; and his wife, who headed
the joke against him, insisted on having her title. Miss Dunstable
swore that she would wed none but a South Sea islander; and to Mark
was offered the income and duties of Bishop of Spices. Nor did the
Proudie family set themselves against these little sarcastic quips
with any overwhelming severity. It is sweet to unbend oneself at
the proper opportunity, and this was the proper opportunity for Mrs.
Proudie's unbending. No mortal can be seriously wise at all hours;
and in these happy hours did that usually wise mortal, the bishop,
lay aside for awhile his serious wisdom.
"We think of dining at five to-morrow, my Lady Papua," said the
facetious bishop; "will that suit his lordship and the affairs of
State? he! he! he!" And the good prelate laughed at the fun.
How pleasantly young men and women of fifty or thereabouts can joke
and flirt and poke their fun about, laughing and holding their sides,
dealing in little innuendoes and rejoicing in nicknames when they
have no Mentors of twenty-five or thirty near them to keep them in
order. The vicar of Framley might perhaps have been regarded as such
a Mentor, were it not for that capability of adapting himself to the
company immediately around him on which he so much piqued himself.
He therefore also talked to my Lady Papua, and was jocose about
the Baron,--not altogether to the satisfaction of Mr. Harold Smith
For Mr. Harold Smith was in earnest and did not quite relish these
jocundities. He had an idea that he could in about three months talk
the British world into civilizing New Guinea, and that the world of
Barsetshire would be made to go with him by one night's efforts.
He did not understand why others should be less serious, and was
inclined to resent somewhat stiffly the amenities of our friend Mark.
"We must not keep the Baron waiting," said Mark, as they were
preparing to start for Barchester.
"I don't know what you mean by the Baron, sir," said Harold Smith.
"But perhaps the joke will be against you, when you are getting
up into your pulpit to-morrow and sending the hat round among the
clodhoppers of Chaldicotes."
"Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones; eh, Baron?"
said Miss Dunstable. "Mr. Robarts's sermon will be too near akin to
your lecture to allow of his laughing."
"If we can do nothing towards instructing the outer world till it's
done by the parsons," said Harold Smith, "the outer world will have
to wait a long time, I fear."
"Nobody can do anything of that kind short of a member of Parliament
and a would-be minister," whispered Mrs. Harold.
And so they were all very pleasant together, in spite of a little
fencing with edge-tools; and at three o'clock the "cortége" of
carriages started for Barchester, that of the bishop, of course,
leading the way. His lordship, however, was not in it.
"Mrs. Proudie, I'm sure you'll let me go with you," said Miss
Dunstable, at the last moment, as she came down the big stone steps.
"I want to hear the rest of that story about Mr. Slope."
Now this upset everything. The bishop was to have gone with his wife,
Mrs. Smith, and Mark Robarts; and Mr. Sowerby had so arranged matters
that he could have accompanied Miss Dunstable in his phaeton. But no
one ever dreamed of denying Miss Dunstable anything. Of course Mark
gave way; but it ended in the bishop declaring that he had no special
predilection for his own carriage, which he did in compliance with a
glance from his wife's eye. Then other changes of course followed,
and, at last, Mr. Sowerby and Harold Smith were the joint occupants
of the phaeton.
The poor lecturer, as he seated himself, made some remark such as
those he had been making for the last two days--for out of a full
heart the mouth speaketh. But he spoke to an impatient listener.
"D---- the South Sea islanders," said Mr. Sowerby. "You'll have it
all your own way in a few minutes, like a bull in a china-shop; but
for Heaven's sake let us have a little peace till that time comes."
It appeared that Mr. Sowerby's little plan of having Miss Dunstable
for his companion was not quite insignificant; and, indeed, it may be
said that but few of his little plans were so. At the present moment
he flung himself back in the carriage and prepared for sleep. He
could further no plan of his by a "tête-à-tête" conversation with his
And then Mrs. Proudie began her story about Mr. Slope, or rather
recommenced it. She was very fond of talking about this gentleman,
who had once been her pet chaplain but was now her bitterest foe; and
in telling the story, she had sometimes to whisper to Miss Dunstable,
for there were one or two fie-fie little anecdotes about a married
lady, not altogether fit for young Mr. Robarts's ears. But Mrs.
Harold Smith insisted on having them out loud, and Miss Dunstable
would gratify that lady in spite of Mrs. Proudie's winks.
"What, kissing her hand, and he a clergyman!" said Miss Dunstable.
"I did not think they ever did such things, Mr. Robarts."
"Still waters run deepest," said Mrs. Harold Smith.
"Hush-h-h," looked, rather than spoke, Mrs. Proudie. "The grief
of spirit which that bad man caused me nearly broke my heart, and
all the while, you know, he was courting--" and then Mrs. Proudie
whispered a name.
"What, the dean's wife!" shouted Miss Dunstable, in a voice which
made the coachman of the next carriage give a chuck to his horses as
he overheard her.
"The archdeacon's sister-in-law!" screamed Mrs. Harold Smith.
"What might he not have attempted next?" said Miss Dunstable.
"She wasn't the dean's wife then, you know," said Mrs. Proudie,
"Well, you've a gay set in the chapter, I must say," said Miss
Dunstable. "You ought to make one of them in Barchester, Mr.
"Only perhaps Mrs. Robarts might not like it," said Mrs. Harold
"And then the schemes which he tried on with the bishop!" said Mrs.
"It's all fair in love and war, you know," said Miss Dunstable.
"But he little knew whom he had to deal with when he began that,"
said Mrs. Proudie.
"The bishop was too many for him," suggested Mrs. Harold Smith, very
"If the bishop was not, somebody else was; and he was obliged to
leave Barchester in utter disgrace. He has since married the wife of
"The wife!" said Miss Dunstable. "What a man!"
"Widow, I mean; but it's all one to him."
"The gentleman was clearly born when Venus was in the ascendant,"
said Mrs. Smith. "You clergymen usually are, I believe, Mr. Robarts."
So that Mrs. Proudie's carriage was by no means the dullest as they
drove into Barchester that day; and by degrees our friend Mark became
accustomed to his companions, and before they reached the palace he
acknowledged to himself that Miss Dunstable was very good fun.
We cannot linger over the bishop's dinner, though it was very good of
its kind; and as Mr. Sowerby contrived to sit next to Miss Dunstable,
thereby overturning a little scheme made by Mr. Supplehouse, he again
shone forth in unclouded good humour. But Mr. Harold Smith became
impatient immediately on the withdrawal of the cloth. The lecture was
to begin at seven, and according to his watch that hour had already
come. He declared that Sowerby and Supplehouse were endeavouring to
delay matters in order that the Barchesterians might become vexed
and impatient; and so the bishop was not allowed to exercise his
hospitality in true episcopal fashion.
"You forget, Sowerby," said Supplehouse, "that the world here for the
last fortnight has been looking forward to nothing else."
"The world shall be gratified at once," said Mrs. Harold, obeying a
little nod from Mrs. Proudie. "Come, my dear," and she took hold of
Miss Dunstable's arm, "don't let us keep Barchester waiting. We shall
be ready in a quarter-of-an-hour, shall we not, Mrs. Proudie?" and so
they sailed off.
"And we shall have time for one glass of claret," said the bishop.
"There; that's seven by the cathedral," said Harold Smith, jumping
up from his chair as he heard the clock. "If the people have come it
would not be right in me to keep them waiting, and I shall go."
"Just one glass of claret, Mr. Smith, and we'll be off," said the
"Those women will keep me an hour," said Harold, filling his glass,
and drinking it standing. "They do it on purpose." He was thinking
of his wife, but it seemed to the bishop as though his guest were
actually speaking of Mrs. Proudie.
It was rather late when they all found themselves in the big room of
the Mechanics' Institute; but I do not know whether this on the whole
did them any harm. Most of Mr. Smith's hearers, excepting the party
from the palace, were Barchester tradesmen with their wives and
families; and they waited, not impatiently, for the big people. And
then the lecture was gratis, a fact which is always borne in mind
by an Englishman when he comes to reckon up and calculate the way
in which he is treated. When he pays his money, then he takes his
choice; he may be impatient or not as he likes. His sense of justice
teaches him so much, and in accordance with that sense he usually
So the people on the benches rose graciously when the palace
party entered the room. Seats for them had been kept in the front.
There were three arm-chairs, which were filled, after some little
hesitation, by the bishop, Mrs. Proudie, and Miss Dunstable--Mrs.
Smith positively declining to take one of them; though, as she
admitted, her rank as Lady Papua of the islands did give her some
claim. And this remark, as it was made quite out loud, reached Mr.
Smith's ears as he stood behind a little table on a small raised
dais, holding his white kid gloves; and it annoyed him and rather put
him out. He did not like that joke about Lady Papua.
And then the others of the party sat upon a front bench covered with
red cloth. "We shall find this very hard and very narrow about the
second hour," said Mr. Sowerby, and Mr. Smith on his dais again
overheard the words, and dashed his gloves down to the table. He felt
that all the room would hear it.
And there were one or two gentlemen on the second seat who shook
hands with some of our party. There was Mr. Thorne of Ullathorne,
a good-natured old bachelor, whose residence was near enough
to Barchester to allow of his coming in without much personal
inconvenience; and next to him was Mr. Harding, an old clergyman
of the chapter, with whom Mrs. Proudie shook hands very graciously,
making way for him to seat himself close behind her if he would so
please. But Mr. Harding did not so please. Having paid his respects
to the bishop he returned quietly to the side of his old friend Mr.
Thorne, thereby angering Mrs. Proudie, as might easily be seen by her
face. And Mr. Chadwick also was there, the episcopal man of business
for the diocese; but he also adhered to the two gentlemen above
And now that the bishop and the ladies had taken their places, Mr.
Harold Smith relifted his gloves and again laid them down, hummed
three times distinctly, and then began.
"It was," he said, "the most peculiar characteristic of the present
era in the British islands that those who were high placed before the
world in rank, wealth, and education were willing to come forward
and give their time and knowledge without fee or reward, for the
advantage and amelioration of those who did not stand so high in the
social scale." And then he paused for a moment, during which Mrs.
Smith remarked to Miss Dunstable that that was pretty well for a
beginning; and Miss Dunstable replied, "that as for herself she felt
very grateful to rank, wealth, and education." Mr. Sowerby winked
to Mr. Supplehouse, who opened his eyes very wide and shrugged his
shoulders. But the Barchesterians took it all in good part and gave
the lecturer the applause of their hands and feet.
And then, well pleased, he recommenced--"I do not make these remarks
with reference to myself--"
"I hope he's not going to be modest," said Miss Dunstable.
"It will be quite new if he is," replied Mrs. Smith.
"--so much as to many noble and talented lords and members of the
Lower House who have lately from time to time devoted themselves to
this good work." And then he went through a long list of peers and
members of Parliament, beginning, of course, with Lord Boanerges, and
ending with Mr. Green Walker, a young gentleman who had lately been
returned by his uncle's interest for the borough of Crewe Junction,
and had immediately made his entrance into public life by giving a
lecture on the grammarians of the Latin language as exemplified at
"On the present occasion," Mr. Smith continued, "our object is to
learn something as to those grand and magnificent islands which lie
far away, beyond the Indies, in the Southern Ocean; the lands of
which produce rich spices and glorious fruits, and whose seas are
imbedded with pearls and corals,--Papua and the Philippines, Borneo
and the Moluccas. My friends, you are familiar with your maps, and
you know the track which the equator makes for itself through those
distant oceans." And then many heads were turned down, and there was
a rustle of leaves; for not a few of those "who stood not so high in
the social scale" had brought their maps with them, and refreshed
their memories as to the whereabouts of these wondrous islands.
And then Mr. Smith also, with a map in his hand, and pointing
occasionally to another large map which hung against the wall, went
into the geography of the matter. "We might have found that out from
our atlases, I think, without coming all the way to Barchester,"
said that unsympathizing helpmate, Mrs. Harold, very cruelly--most
illogically too, for there be so many things which we could find out
ourselves by search, but which we never do find out unless they be
specially told us; and why should not the latitude and longitude of
Labuan be one--or rather two of these things?
And then, when he had duly marked the path of the line through
Borneo, Celebes, and Gilolo, through the Macassar strait and the
Molucca passage, Mr. Harold Smith rose to a higher flight. "But
what," said he, "avails all that God can give to man, unless man will
open his hand to receive the gift? And what is this opening of the
hand but the process of civilization--yes, my friends, the process
of civilization? These South Sea islanders have all that a kind
Providence can bestow on them; but that all is as nothing without
education. That education and that civilization it is for you to
bestow upon them--yes, my friends, for you; for you, citizens of
Barchester as you are." And then he paused again, in order that the
feet and hands might go to work. The feet and hands did go to work,
during which Mr. Smith took a slight drink of water.
He was now quite in his element and had got into the proper way of
punching the table with his fists. A few words dropping from Mr.
Sowerby did now and again find their way to his ears, but the sound
of his own voice had brought with it the accustomed charm, and he ran
on from platitude to truism, and from truism back to platitude, with
an eloquence that was charming to himself.
"Civilization," he exclaimed, lifting up his eyes and hands to the
ceiling. "Oh, civilization--"
"There will not be a chance for us now for the next hour and a half,"
said Mr. Supplehouse, groaning.
Harold Smith cast one eye down at him, but it immediately flew back
to the ceiling.
"Oh, civilization! thou that ennoblest mankind and makest him equal
to the gods, what is like unto thee?" Here Mrs. Proudie showed
evident signs of disapprobation, which no doubt would have been
shared by the bishop, had not that worthy prelate been asleep. But
Mr. Smith continued unobservant; or, at any rate, regardless.
"What is like unto thee? Thou art the irrigating stream which makest
fertile the barren plain. Till thou comest all is dark and dreary;
but at thy advent the noontide sun shines out, the earth gives forth
her increase; the deep bowels of the rocks render up their tribute.
Forms which were dull and hideous become endowed with grace and
beauty, and vegetable existence rises to the scale of celestial life.
Then, too, Genius appears clad in a panoply of translucent armour,
grasping in his hand the whole terrestrial surface, and making every
rood of earth subservient to his purposes;--Genius, the child of
civilization, the mother of the Arts!"
The last little bit, taken from the Pedigree of Progress, had a
great success, and all Barchester went to work with its hands
and feet;--all Barchester, except that ill-natured aristocratic
front-row together with the three arm-chairs at the corner of it.
The aristocratic front-row felt itself to be too intimate with
civilization to care much about it; and the three arm-chairs, or
rather that special one which contained Mrs. Proudie, considered
that there was a certain heathenness, a pagan sentimentality almost
amounting to infidelity, contained in the lecturer's remarks, with
which she, a pillar of the Church, could not put up, seated as she
was now in public conclave.
"It is to civilization that we must look," continued Mr. Harold
Smith, descending from poetry to prose as a lecturer well knows how,
and thereby showing the value of both--"for any material progress in
these islands; and--"
"And to Christianity," shouted Mrs. Proudie, to the great amazement
of the assembled people and to the thorough wakening of the bishop,
who, jumping up in his chair at the sound of the well-known voice,
exclaimed, "Certainly, certainly."
"Hear, hear, hear," said those on the benches who particularly
belonged to Mrs. Proudie's school of divinity in the city, and among
the voices was distinctly heard that of a new verger in whose behalf
she had greatly interested herself.
"Oh, yes, Christianity of course," said Harold Smith, upon whom the
interruption did not seem to operate favourably.
"Christianity and Sabbath-day observance," exclaimed Mrs. Proudie,
who, now that she had obtained the ear of the public, seemed well
inclined to keep it. "Let us never forget that these islanders can
never prosper unless they keep the Sabbath holy."
Poor Mr. Smith, having been so rudely dragged from his high horse,
was never able to mount it again, and completed the lecture in a
manner not at all comfortable to himself. He had there, on the table
before him, a huge bundle of statistics with which he had meant to
convince the reason of his hearers after he had taken full possession
of their feelings. But they fell very dull and flat. And at the
moment when he was interrupted he was about to explain that that
material progress to which he had alluded could not be attained
without money; and that it behoved them, the people of Barchester
before him, to come forward with their purses like men and brothers.
He did also attempt this; but from the moment of that fatal onslaught
from the arm-chair, it was clear to him and to every one else, that
Mrs. Proudie was now the hero of the hour. His time had gone by, and
the people of Barchester did not care a straw for his appeal.
From these causes the lecture was over full twenty minutes earlier
than any one had expected, to the great delight of Messrs. Sowerby
and Supplehouse, who, on that evening, moved and carried a vote of
thanks to Mrs. Proudie. For they had gay doings yet before they went
to their beds.
"Robarts, here one moment," Mr. Sowerby said, as they were standing
at the door of the Mechanics' Institute. "Don't you go off with Mr.
and Mrs. Bishop. We are going to have a little supper at the Dragon
of Wantly, and after what we have gone through upon my word we want
it. You can tell one of the palace servants to let you in."
Mark considered the proposal wistfully. He would fain have joined the
supper-party had he dared; but he, like many others of his cloth, had
the fear of Mrs. Proudie before his eyes.
And a very merry supper they had; but poor Mr. Harold Smith was not
the merriest of the party.
It was, perhaps, quite as well on the whole for Mark Robarts, that he
did not go to that supper party. It was eleven o'clock before they
sat down, and nearly two before the gentlemen were in bed. It must
be remembered that he had to preach, on the coming Sunday morning,
a charity sermon on behalf of a mission to Mr. Harold Smith's
islanders; and, to tell the truth, it was a task for which he had now
very little inclination.
When first invited to do this, he had regarded the task seriously
enough, as he always did regard such work, and he completed his
sermon for the occasion before he left Framley; but, since that, an
air of ridicule had been thrown over the whole affair, in which he
had joined without much thinking of his own sermon, and this made him
now heartily wish that he could choose a discourse upon any other
He knew well that the very points on which he had most insisted, were
those which had drawn most mirth from Miss Dunstable and Mrs. Smith,
and had oftenest provoked his own laughter; and how was he now to
preach on those matters in a fitting mood, knowing, as he would know,
that those two ladies would be looking at him, would endeavour to
catch his eye, and would turn him into ridicule as they had already
turned the lecturer?
In this he did injustice to one of the ladies, unconsciously. Miss
Dunstable, with all her aptitude for mirth, and we may almost fairly
say for frolic, was in no way inclined to ridicule religion or
anything which she thought to appertain to it. It may be presumed
that among such things she did not include Mrs. Proudie, as she was
willing enough to laugh at that lady; but Mark, had he known her
better, might have been sure that she would have sat out his sermon
with perfect propriety.
As it was, however, he did feel considerable uneasiness; and in the
morning he got up early with the view of seeing what might be done
in the way of emendation. He cut out those parts which referred most
specially to the islands,--he rejected altogether those names over
which they had all laughed together so heartily,--and he inserted a
string of general remarks, very useful, no doubt, which he flattered
himself would rob his sermon of all similarity to Harold Smith's
lecture. He had, perhaps, hoped, when writing it, to create some
little sensation; but now he would be quite satisfied if it passed
But his troubles for that Sunday were destined to be many. It had
been arranged that the party at the hotel should breakfast at eight,
and start at half-past eight punctually, so as to enable them to
reach Chaldicotes in ample time to arrange their dresses before they
went to church. The church stood in the grounds, close to that long
formal avenue of lime-trees, but within the front gates. Their walk,
therefore, after reaching Mr. Sowerby's house, would not be long.
Mrs. Proudie, who was herself an early body, would not hear of her
guest--and he a clergyman--going out to the inn for his breakfast
on a Sunday morning. As regarded that Sabbath-day journey to
Chaldicotes, to that she had given her assent, no doubt with much
uneasiness of mind; but let them have as little desecration as
possible. It was, therefore, an understood thing that he was to
return with his friends; but he should not go without the advantage
of family prayers and family breakfast. And so Mrs. Proudie on
retiring to rest gave the necessary orders, to the great annoyance of
To the great annoyance, at least, of her servants! The bishop himself
did not make his appearance till a much later hour. He in all things
now supported his wife's rule; in all things, now, I say; for
there had been a moment, when in the first flush and pride of his
episcopacy other ideas had filled his mind. Now, however, he gave no
opposition to that good woman with whom Providence had blessed him;
and in return for such conduct that good woman administered in all
things to his little personal comforts. With what surprise did the
bishop now look back upon that unholy war which he had once been
tempted to wage against the wife of his bosom?
Nor did any of the Miss Proudies show themselves at that early hour.
They, perhaps, were absent on a different ground. With them Mrs.
Proudie had not been so successful as with the bishop. They had
wills of their own which became stronger and stronger every day.
Of the three with whom Mrs. Proudie was blessed one was already in
a position to exercise that will in a legitimate way over a very
excellent young clergyman in the diocese, the Rev. Optimus Grey; but
the other two, having as yet no such opening for their powers of
command, were perhaps a little too much inclined to keep themselves
in practice at home.
But at half-past seven punctually Mrs. Proudie was there, and so was
the domestic chaplain; so was Mr. Robarts, and so were the household
servants,--all excepting one lazy recreant. "Where is Thomas?" said
she of the Argus eyes, standing up with her book of family prayers in
her hand. "So please you, ma'am, Tummas be bad with the tooth-ache."
"Tooth-ache!" exclaimed Mrs. Proudie; but her eyes said more terrible
things than that. "Let Thomas come to me before church." And then
they proceeded to prayers. These were read by the chaplain, as it was
proper and decent that they should be; but I cannot but think that
Mrs. Proudie a little exceeded her office in taking upon herself
to pronounce the blessing when the prayers were over. She did it,
however, in a clear, sonorous voice, and perhaps with more personal
dignity than was within the chaplain's compass.
Mrs. Proudie was rather stern at breakfast, and the vicar of Framley
felt an unaccountable desire to get out of the house. In the first
place she was not dressed with her usual punctilious attention to the
proprieties of her high situation. It was evident that there was to
be a further toilet before she sailed up the middle of the cathedral
choir. She had on a large loose cap with no other strings than those
which were wanted for tying it beneath her chin, a cap with which the
household and the chaplain were well acquainted, but which seemed
ungracious in the eyes of Mr. Robarts after all the well-dressed
holiday doings of the last week. She wore also a large, loose,
dark-coloured wrapper, which came well up round her neck, and which
was not buoyed out, as were her dresses in general, with an under
mechanism of petticoats. It clung to her closely, and added to the
inflexibility of her general appearance. And then she had encased her
feet in large carpet slippers, which no doubt were comfortable, but
which struck her visitor as being strange and unsightly.
"Do you find a difficulty in getting your people together for early
morning prayers?" she said, as she commenced her operations with the
"I can't say that I do," said Mark. "But then we are seldom so early
"Parish clergymen should be early, I think," said she. "It sets a
good example in the village."
"I am thinking of having morning prayers in the church," said Mr.
"That's nonsense," said Mrs. Proudie, "and usually means worse than
nonsense. I know what that comes to. If you have three services on
Sunday and domestic prayers at home, you do very well." And so saying
she handed him his cup.
"But I have not three services on Sunday, Mrs. Proudie."
"Then I think you should have. Where can the poor people be so well
off on Sundays as in church? The bishop intends to express a very
strong opinion on this subject in his next charge; and then I am sure
you will attend to his wishes."
To this Mark made no answer, but devoted himself to his egg.
"I suppose you have not a very large establishment at Framley?" asked
"What, at the parsonage?"
"Yes; you live at the parsonage, don't you?"
"Certainly--well; not very large, Mrs. Proudie; just enough to do the
work, make things comfortable, and look after the children."
"It is a very fine living," said she; "very fine. I don't remember
that we have anything so good ourselves,--except it is Plumstead, the
archdeacon's place. He has managed to butter his bread pretty well."
"His father was Bishop of Barchester."
"Oh, yes, I know all about him. Only for that he would barely have
risen to be an archdeacon, I suspect. Let me see; yours is £800, is
it not, Mr. Robarts? And you such a young man! I suppose you have
insured your life highly."
"Pretty well, Mrs. Proudie."
"And then, too, your wife had some little fortune, had she not? We
cannot all fall on our feet like that; can we, Mr. White?" and Mrs.
Proudie in her playful way appealed to the chaplain.
Mrs. Proudie was an imperious woman; but then so also was Lady
Lufton; and it may therefore be said that Mr. Robarts ought to have
been accustomed to feminine domination; but as he sat there munching
his toast he could not but make a comparison between the two. Lady
Lufton in her little attempts sometimes angered him; but he certainly
thought, comparing the lay lady and the clerical together, that the
rule of the former was the lighter and the pleasanter. But then Lady
Lufton had given him a living and a wife, and Mrs. Proudie had given
Immediately after breakfast Mr. Robarts escaped to the Dragon of
Wantly, partly because he had had enough of the matutinal Mrs.
Proudie, and partly also in order tha
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