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
The Rev. Septimus Harding was, a few years since, a beneficed
clergyman residing in the cathedral town of ----; let us call it
Barchester. Were we to name Wells or Salisbury, Exeter, Hereford, or
Gloucester, it might be presumed that something personal was intended;
and as this tale will refer mainly to the cathedral dignitaries of the
town in question, we are anxious that no personality may be suspected.
Let us presume that Barchester is a quiet town in the West of England,
more remarkable for the beauty of its cathedral and the antiquity of
its monuments than for any commercial prosperity; that the west end
of Barchester is the cathedral close, and that the aristocracy of
Barchester are the bishop, dean, and canons, with their respective
wives and daughters.
Early in life Mr Harding found himself located at Barchester. A fine
voice and a taste for sacred music had decided the position in which
he was to exercise his calling, and for many years he performed the
easy but not highly paid duties of a minor canon. At the age of forty
a small living in the close vicinity of the town increased both his
work and his income, and at the age of fifty he became precentor of
Mr Harding had married early in life, and was the father of two
daughters. The eldest, Susan, was born soon after his marriage; the
other, Eleanor, not till ten years later.
At the time at which we introduce him to our readers he was living as
precentor at Barchester with his youngest daughter, then twenty-four
years of age; having been many years a widower, and having married his
eldest daughter to a son of the bishop a very short time before his
installation to the office of precentor.
Scandal at Barchester affirmed that had it not been for the beauty of
his daughter, Mr Harding would have remained a minor canon; but here
probably Scandal lied, as she so often does; for even as a minor canon
no one had been more popular among his reverend brethren in the close
than Mr Harding; and Scandal, before she had reprobated Mr Harding for
being made precentor by his friend the bishop, had loudly blamed the
bishop for having so long omitted to do something for his friend Mr
Harding. Be this as it may, Susan Harding, some twelve years since,
had married the Rev. Dr Theophilus Grantly, son of the bishop,
archdeacon of Barchester, and rector of Plumstead Episcopi, and her
father became, a few months later, precentor of Barchester Cathedral,
that office being, as is not unusual, in the bishop's gift.
Now there are peculiar circumstances connected with the precentorship
which must be explained. In the year 1434 there died at Barchester
one John Hiram, who had made money in the town as a wool-stapler, and
in his will he left the house in which he died and certain meadows and
closes near the town, still called Hiram's Butts, and Hiram's Patch,
for the support of twelve superannuated wool-carders, all of whom
should have been born and bred and spent their days in Barchester; he
also appointed that an alms-house should be built for their abode,
with a fitting residence for a warden, which warden was also to
receive a certain sum annually out of the rents of the said butts and
patches. He, moreover, willed, having had a soul alive to harmony,
that the precentor of the cathedral should have the option of being
also warden of the almshouses, if the bishop in each case approved.
From that day to this the charity had gone on and prospered--at least,
the charity had gone on, and the estates had prospered. Wool-carding
in Barchester there was no longer any; so the bishop, dean, and
warden, who took it in turn to put in the old men, generally
appointed some hangers-on of their own; worn-out gardeners, decrepit
grave-diggers, or octogenarian sextons, who thankfully received a
comfortable lodging and one shilling and fourpence a day, such being
the stipend to which, under the will of John Hiram, they were declared
to be entitled. Formerly, indeed,--that is, till within some fifty
years of the present time,--they received but sixpence a day, and
their breakfast and dinner was found them at a common table by the
warden, such an arrangement being in stricter conformity with the
absolute wording of old Hiram's will: but this was thought to be
inconvenient, and to suit the tastes of neither warden nor bedesmen,
and the daily one shilling and fourpence was substituted with the
common consent of all parties, including the bishop and the
corporation of Barchester.
Such was the condition of Hiram's twelve old men when Mr Harding was
appointed warden; but if they may be considered as well-to-do in the
world according to their condition, the happy warden was much more so.
The patches and butts which, in John Hiram's time, produced hay or fed
cows, were now covered with rows of houses; the value of the property
had gradually increased from year to year and century to century, and
was now presumed by those who knew anything about it, to bring in
a very nice income; and by some who knew nothing about it, to have
increased to an almost fabulous extent.
The property was farmed by a gentleman in Barchester, who also acted
as the bishop's steward,--a man whose father and grandfather had been
stewards to the bishops of Barchester, and farmers of John Hiram's
estate. The Chadwicks had earned a good name in Barchester; they
had lived respected by bishops, deans, canons, and precentors; they
had been buried in the precincts of the cathedral; they had never
been known as griping, hard men, but had always lived comfortably,
maintained a good house, and held a high position in Barchester
society. The present Mr Chadwick was a worthy scion of a worthy
stock, and the tenants living on the butts and patches, as well as
those on the wide episcopal domains of the see, were well pleased to
have to do with so worthy and liberal a steward.
For many, many years,--records hardly tell how many, probably from
the time when Hiram's wishes had been first fully carried out,--the
proceeds of the estate had been paid by the steward or farmer to the
warden, and by him divided among the bedesmen; after which division
he paid himself such sums as became his due. Times had been when the
poor warden got nothing but his bare house, for the patches had been
subject to floods, and the land of Barchester butts was said to be
unproductive; and in these hard times the warden was hardly able to
make out the daily dole for his twelve dependents. But by degrees
things mended; the patches were drained, and cottages began to
rise upon the butts, and the wardens, with fairness enough, repaid
themselves for the evil days gone by. In bad times the poor men had
had their due, and therefore in good times they could expect no more.
In this manner the income of the warden had increased; the picturesque
house attached to the hospital had been enlarged and adorned, and
the office had become one of the most coveted of the snug clerical
sinecures attached to our church. It was now wholly in the bishop's
gift, and though the dean and chapter, in former days, made a stand
on the subject, they had thought it more conducive to their honour
to have a rich precentor appointed by the bishop, than a poor one
appointed by themselves. The stipend of the precentor of Barchester
was eighty pounds a year. The income arising from the wardenship of
the hospital was eight hundred, besides the value of the house.
Murmurs, very slight murmurs, had been heard in Barchester,--few
indeed, and far between,--that the proceeds of John Hiram's property
had not been fairly divided: but they can hardly be said to have been
of such a nature as to have caused uneasiness to anyone: still the
thing had been whispered, and Mr Harding had heard it. Such was his
character in Barchester, so universal was his popularity, that the
very fact of his appointment would have quieted louder whispers
than those which had been heard; but Mr Harding was an open-handed,
just-minded man, and feeling that there might be truth in what had
been said, he had, on his instalment, declared his intention of adding
twopence a day to each man's pittance, making a sum of sixty-two
pounds eleven shillings and fourpence, which he was to pay out of
his own pocket. In doing so, however, he distinctly and repeatedly
observed to the men, that though he promised for himself, he could not
promise for his successors, and that the extra twopence could only
be looked on as a gift from himself, and not from the trust. The
bedesmen, however, were most of them older than Mr Harding, and were
quite satisfied with the security on which their extra income was
This munificence on the part of Mr Harding had not been unopposed.
Mr Chadwick had mildly but seriously dissuaded him from it; and his
strong-minded son-in-law, the archdeacon, the man of whom alone Mr
Harding stood in awe, had urgently, nay, vehemently, opposed so
impolitic a concession: but the warden had made known his intention
to the hospital before the archdeacon had been able to interfere,
and the deed was done.
Hiram's Hospital, as the retreat is called, is a picturesque building
enough, and shows the correct taste with which the ecclesiastical
architects of those days were imbued. It stands on the banks of the
little river, which flows nearly round the cathedral close, being on
the side furthest from the town. The London road crosses the river
by a pretty one-arched bridge, and, looking from this bridge, the
stranger will see the windows of the old men's rooms, each pair of
windows separated by a small buttress. A broad gravel walk runs
between the building and the river, which is always trim and cared
for; and at the end of the walk, under the parapet of the approach to
the bridge, is a large and well-worn seat, on which, in mild weather,
three or four of Hiram's bedesmen are sure to be seen seated. Beyond
this row of buttresses, and further from the bridge, and also further
from the water which here suddenly bends, are the pretty oriel windows
of Mr Harding's house, and his well-mown lawn. The entrance to the
hospital is from the London road, and is made through a ponderous
gateway under a heavy stone arch, unnecessary, one would suppose, at
any time, for the protection of twelve old men, but greatly conducive
to the good appearance of Hiram's charity. On passing through this
portal, never closed to anyone from 6 A.M. till 10 P.M., and never
open afterwards, except on application to a huge, intricately hung
mediæval bell, the handle of which no uninitiated intruder can
possibly find, the six doors of the old men's abodes are seen, and
beyond them is a slight iron screen, through which the more happy
portion of the Barchester elite pass into the Elysium of Mr Harding's
Mr Harding is a small man, now verging on sixty years, but bearing few
of the signs of age; his hair is rather grizzled, though not gray;
his eye is very mild, but clear and bright, though the double glasses
which are held swinging from his hand, unless when fixed upon his
nose, show that time has told upon his sight; his hands are delicately
white, and both hands and feet are small; he always wears a black
frock coat, black knee-breeches, and black gaiters, and somewhat
scandalises some of his more hyperclerical brethren by a black
Mr Harding's warmest admirers cannot say that he was ever an
industrious man; the circumstances of his life have not called on
him to be so; and yet he can hardly be called an idler. Since his
appointment to his precentorship, he has published, with all possible
additions of vellum, typography, and gilding, a collection of our
ancient church music, with some correct dissertations on Purcell,
Crotch, and Nares. He has greatly improved the choir of Barchester,
which, under his dominion, now rivals that of any cathedral in
England. He has taken something more than his fair share in the
cathedral services, and has played the violoncello daily to such
audiences as he could collect, or, "faute de mieux", to no audience
We must mention one other peculiarity of Mr Harding. As we have
before stated, he has an income of eight hundred a year, and has no
family but his one daughter; and yet he is never quite at ease in
money matters. The vellum and gilding of "Harding's Church Music"
cost more than any one knows, except the author, the publisher, and
the Rev. Theophilus Grantly, who allows none of his father-in-law's
extravagances to escape him. Then he is generous to his daughter, for
whose service he keeps a small carriage and pair of ponies. He is,
indeed, generous to all, but especially to the twelve old men who are
in a peculiar manner under his care. No doubt with such an income Mr
Harding should be above the world, as the saying is; but, at any rate,
he is not above Archdeacon Theophilus Grantly, for he is always more
or less in debt to his son-in-law, who has, to a certain extent,
assumed the arrangement of the precentor's pecuniary affairs.
THE BARCHESTER REFORMER
Mr Harding has been now precentor of Barchester for ten years; and,
alas, the murmurs respecting the proceeds of Hiram's estate are again
becoming audible. It is not that any one begrudges to Mr Harding
the income which he enjoys, and the comfortable place which so well
becomes him; but such matters have begun to be talked of in various
parts of England. Eager pushing politicians have asserted in the
House of Commons, with very telling indignation, that the grasping
priests of the Church of England are gorged with the wealth which the
charity of former times has left for the solace of the aged, or the
education of the young. The well-known case of the Hospital of St
Cross has even come before the law courts of the country, and the
struggles of Mr Whiston, at Rochester, have met with sympathy and
support. Men are beginning to say that these things must be looked
Mr Harding, whose conscience in the matter is clear, and who has never
felt that he had received a pound from Hiram's will to which he was
not entitled, has naturally taken the part of the church in talking
over these matters with his friend, the bishop, and his son-in-law,
the archdeacon. The archdeacon, indeed, Dr Grantly, has been somewhat
loud in the matter. He is a personal friend of the dignitaries of the
Rochester Chapter, and has written letters in the public press on the
subject of that turbulent Dr Whiston, which, his admirers think, must
well nigh set the question at rest. It is also known at Oxford that
he is the author of the pamphlet signed "Sacerdos" on the subject of
the Earl of Guildford and St Cross, in which it is so clearly argued
that the manners of the present times do not admit of a literal
adhesion to the very words of the founder's will, but that the
interests of the church for which the founder was so deeply concerned
are best consulted in enabling its bishops to reward those shining
lights whose services have been most signally serviceable to
Christianity. In answer to this, it is asserted that Henry de Blois,
founder of St Cross, was not greatly interested in the welfare of the
reformed church, and that the masters of St Cross, for many years
past, cannot be called shining lights in the service of Christianity;
it is, however, stoutly maintained, and no doubt felt, by all the
archdeacon's friends, that his logic is conclusive, and has not, in
fact, been answered.
With such a tower of strength to back both his arguments and his
conscience, it may be imagined that Mr Harding has never felt any
compunction as to receiving his quarterly sum of two hundred pounds.
Indeed, the subject has never presented itself to his mind in that
shape. He has talked not unfrequently, and heard very much about the
wills of old founders and the incomes arising from their estates,
during the last year or two; he did even, at one moment, feel a
doubt (since expelled by his son-in-law's logic) as to whether Lord
Guildford was clearly entitled to receive so enormous an income
as he does from the revenues of St Cross; but that he himself was
overpaid with his modest eight hundred pounds,--he who, out of that,
voluntarily gave up sixty-two pounds eleven shillings and fourpence a
year to his twelve old neighbours,--he who, for the money, does his
precentor's work as no precentor has done it before, since Barchester
Cathedral was built,--such an idea has never sullied his quiet, or
disturbed his conscience.
Nevertheless, Mr Harding is becoming uneasy at the rumour which he
knows to prevail in Barchester on the subject. He is aware that, at
any rate, two of his old men have been heard to say, that if everyone
had his own, they might each have their hundred pounds a year, and
live like gentlemen, instead of a beggarly one shilling and sixpence
a day; and that they had slender cause to be thankful for a miserable
dole of twopence, when Mr Harding and Mr Chadwick, between them, ran
away with thousands of pounds which good old John Hiram never intended
for the like of them. It is the ingratitude of this which stings Mr
Harding. One of this discontented pair, Abel Handy, was put into the
hospital by himself; he had been a stone-mason in Barchester, and had
broken his thigh by a fall from a scaffolding, while employed about
the cathedral; and Mr Harding had given him the first vacancy in the
hospital after the occurrence, although Dr Grantly had been very
anxious to put into it an insufferable clerk of his at Plumstead
Episcopi, who had lost all his teeth, and whom the archdeacon hardly
knew how to get rid of by other means. Dr Grantly has not forgotten
to remind Mr Harding how well satisfied with his one-and-sixpence a
day old Joe Mutters would have been, and how injudicious it was on the
part of Mr Harding to allow a radical from the town to get into the
concern. Probably Dr Grantly forgot, at the moment, that the charity
was intended for broken-down journeymen of Barchester.
There is living at Barchester, a young man, a surgeon, named John
Bold, and both Mr Harding and Dr Grantly are well aware that to him
is owing the pestilent rebellious feeling which has shown itself in
the hospital; yes, and the renewal, too, of that disagreeable talk
about Hiram's estates which is now again prevalent in Barchester.
Nevertheless, Mr Harding and Mr Bold are acquainted with each other;
we may say, are friends, considering the great disparity in their
years. Dr Grantly, however, has a holy horror of the impious
demagogue, as on one occasion he called Bold, when speaking of him
to the precentor; and being a more prudent far-seeing man than Mr
Harding, and possessed of a stronger head, he already perceives that
this John Bold will work great trouble in Barchester. He considers
that he is to be regarded as an enemy, and thinks that he should not
be admitted into the camp on anything like friendly terms. As John
Bold will occupy much of our attention, we must endeavour to explain
who he is, and why he takes the part of John Hiram's bedesmen.
John Bold is a young surgeon, who passed many of his boyish years at
Barchester. His father was a physician in the city of London, where
he made a moderate fortune, which he invested in houses in that city.
The Dragon of Wantly inn and posting-house belonged to him, also four
shops in the High Street, and a moiety of the new row of genteel
villas (so called in the advertisements), built outside the town just
beyond Hiram's Hospital. To one of these Dr Bold retired to spend
the evening of his life, and to die; and here his son John spent his
holidays, and afterwards his Christmas vacation when he went from
school to study surgery in the London hospitals. Just as John Bold
was entitled to write himself surgeon and apothecary, old Dr Bold
died, leaving his Barchester property to his son, and a certain sum in
the three per cents. to his daughter Mary, who is some four or five
years older than her brother.
John Bold determined to settle himself at Barchester, and look after
his own property, as well as the bones and bodies of such of his
neighbours as would call upon him for assistance in their troubles.
He therefore put up a large brass plate with "John Bold, Surgeon" on
it, to the great disgust of the nine practitioners who were already
trying to get a living out of the bishop, dean, and canons; and began
house-keeping with the aid of his sister. At this time he was not
more than twenty-four years old; and though he has now been three
years in Barchester, we have not heard that he has done much harm to
the nine worthy practitioners. Indeed, their dread of him has died
away; for in three years he has not taken three fees.
Nevertheless, John Bold is a clever man, and would, with practice,
be a clever surgeon; but he has got quite into another line of life.
Having enough to live on, he has not been forced to work for bread;
he has declined to subject himself to what he calls the drudgery of
the profession, by which, I believe, he means the general work of a
practising surgeon; and has found other employment. He frequently
binds up the bruises and sets the limbs of such of the poorer classes
as profess his way of thinking,--but this he does for love. Now I
will not say that the archdeacon is strictly correct in stigmatising
John Bold as a demagogue, for I hardly know how extreme must be a
man's opinions before he can be justly so called; but Bold is a strong
reformer. His passion is the reform of all abuses; state abuses,
church abuses, corporation abuses (he has got himself elected a town
councillor of Barchester, and has so worried three consecutive mayors,
that it became somewhat difficult to find a fourth), abuses in
medical practice, and general abuses in the world at large. Bold is
thoroughly sincere in his patriotic endeavours to mend mankind, and
there is something to be admired in the energy with which he devotes
himself to remedying evil and stopping injustice; but I fear that
he is too much imbued with the idea that he has a special mission
for reforming. It would be well if one so young had a little
more diffidence himself, and more trust in the honest purposes of
others,--if he could be brought to believe that old customs need not
necessarily be evil, and that changes may possibly be dangerous; but
no, Bold has all the ardour and all the self-assurance of a Danton,
and hurls his anathemas against time-honoured practices with the
violence of a French Jacobin.
No wonder that Dr Grantly should regard Bold as a firebrand, falling,
as he has done, almost in the centre of the quiet ancient close of
Barchester Cathedral. Dr Grantly would have him avoided as the
plague; but the old Doctor and Mr Harding were fast friends. Young
Johnny Bold used to play as a boy on Mr Harding's lawn; he has many a
time won the precentor's heart by listening with rapt attention to his
sacred strains; and since those days, to tell the truth at once, he
has nearly won another heart within the same walls.
Eleanor Harding has not plighted her troth to John Bold, nor has she,
perhaps, owned to herself how dear to her the young reformer is; but
she cannot endure that anyone should speak harshly of him. She does
not dare to defend him when her brother-in-law is so loud against him;
for she, like her father, is somewhat afraid of Dr Grantly; but she is
beginning greatly to dislike the archdeacon. She persuades her father
that it would be both unjust and injudicious to banish his young
friend because of his politics; she cares little to go to houses where
she will not meet him, and, in fact, she is in love.
Nor is there any good reason why Eleanor Harding should not love John
Bold. He has all those qualities which are likely to touch a girl's
heart. He is brave, eager, and amusing; well-made and good-looking;
young and enterprising; his character is in all respects good; he has
sufficient income to support a wife; he is her father's friend; and,
above all, he is in love with her: then why should not Eleanor Harding
be attached to John Bold?
Dr Grantly, who has as many eyes as Argus, and has long seen how the
wind blows in that direction, thinks there are various strong reasons
why this should not be so. He has not thought it wise as yet to
speak to his father-in-law on the subject, for he knows how foolishly
indulgent is Mr Harding in everything that concerns his daughter; but
he has discussed the matter with his all-trusted helpmate, within
that sacred recess formed by the clerical bed-curtains at Plumstead
How much sweet solace, how much valued counsel has our archdeacon
received within that sainted enclosure! 'Tis there alone that he
unbends, and comes down from his high church pedestal to the level of
a mortal man. In the world Dr Grantly never lays aside that demeanour
which so well becomes him. He has all the dignity of an ancient saint
with the sleekness of a modern bishop; he is always the same; he is
always the archdeacon; unlike Homer, he never nods. Even with his
father-in-law, even with the bishop and dean, he maintains that
sonorous tone and lofty deportment which strikes awe into the
young hearts of Barchester, and absolutely cows the whole parish of
Plumstead Episcopi. 'Tis only when he has exchanged that ever-new
shovel hat for a tasselled nightcap, and those shining black
habiliments for his accustomed "robe de nuit", that Dr Grantly talks,
and looks, and thinks like an ordinary man.
Many of us have often thought how severe a trial of faith must this
be to the wives of our great church dignitaries. To us these men are
personifications of St Paul; their very gait is a speaking sermon;
their clean and sombre apparel exacts from us faith and submission,
and the cardinal virtues seem to hover round their sacred hats.
A dean or archbishop, in the garb of his order, is sure of our
reverence, and a well-got-up bishop fills our very souls with awe.
But how can this feeling be perpetuated in the bosoms of those who see
the bishops without their aprons, and the archdeacons even in a lower
state of dishabille?
Do we not all know some reverend, all but sacred, personage before
whom our tongue ceases to be loud and our step to be elastic? But
were we once to see him stretch himself beneath the bed-clothes, yawn
widely, and bury his face upon his pillow, we could chatter before
him as glibly as before a doctor or a lawyer. From some such cause,
doubtless, it arose that our archdeacon listened to the counsels of
his wife, though he considered himself entitled to give counsel to
every other being whom he met.
"My dear," he said, as he adjusted the copious folds of his nightcap,
"there was that John Bold at your father's again to-day. I must say
your father is very imprudent."
"He is imprudent;--he always was," replied Mrs Grantly, speaking from
under the comfortable bed-clothes. "There's nothing new in that."
"No, my dear, there's nothing new;--I know that; but, at the present
juncture of affairs, such imprudence is--is--I'll tell you what, my
dear, if he does not take care what he's about, John Bold will be off
"I think he will, whether papa takes care or no; and why not?"
"Why not!" almost screamed the archdeacon, giving so rough a pull at
his nightcap as almost to bring it over his nose; "why not!--that
pestilent, interfering upstart, John Bold;--the most vulgar young
person I ever met! Do you know that he is meddling with your father's
affairs in a most uncalled-for--most--" And being at a loss for an
epithet sufficiently injurious, he finished his expressions of horror
by muttering, "Good heavens!" in a manner that had been found very
efficacious in clerical meetings of the diocese. He must for the
moment have forgotten where he was.
"As to his vulgarity, archdeacon" (Mrs Grantly had never assumed a
more familiar term than this in addressing her husband), "I don't
agree with you. Not that I like Mr Bold;--he is a great deal too
conceited for me; but then Eleanor does, and it would be the best
thing in the world for papa if they were to marry. Bold would never
trouble himself about Hiram's Hospital if he were papa's son-in-law."
And the lady turned herself round under the bed-clothes, in a manner
to which the doctor was well accustomed, and which told him, as
plainly as words, that as far as she was concerned the subject was
over for that night.
"Good heavens!" murmured the doctor again;--he was evidently much put
Dr Grantly is by no means a bad man; he is exactly the man which such
an education as his was most likely to form; his intellect being
sufficient for such a place in the world, but not sufficient to put
him in advance of it. He performs with a rigid constancy such of the
duties of a parish clergyman as are, to his thinking, above the sphere
of his curate, but it is as an archdeacon that he shines.
We believe, as a general rule, that either a bishop or his archdeacons
have sinecures: where a bishop works, archdeacons have but little to
do, and "vice versa". In the diocese of Barchester the Archdeacon
of Barchester does the work. In that capacity he is diligent,
authoritative, and, as his friends particularly boast, judicious. His
great fault is an overbearing assurance of the virtues and claims of
his order, and his great foible is an equally strong confidence in the
dignity of his own manner and the eloquence of his own words. He is a
moral man, believing the precepts which he teaches, and believing also
that he acts up to them; though we cannot say that he would give his
coat to the man who took his cloak, or that he is prepared to forgive
his brother even seven times. He is severe enough in exacting his
dues, considering that any laxity in this respect would endanger the
security of the church; and, could he have his way, he would consign
to darkness and perdition, not only every individual reformer, but
every committee and every commission that would even dare to ask a
question respecting the appropriation of church revenues.
"They are church revenues: the laity admit it. Surely the church is
able to administer her own revenues." 'Twas thus he was accustomed to
argue, when the sacrilegious doings of Lord John Russell and others
were discussed either at Barchester or at Oxford.
It was no wonder that Dr Grantly did not like John Bold, and that his
wife's suggestion that he should become closely connected with such a
man dismayed him. To give him his due, the archdeacon never wanted
courage; he was quite willing to meet his enemy on any field and with
any weapon. He had that belief in his own arguments that he felt sure
of success, could he only be sure of a fair fight on the part of his
adversary. He had no idea that John Bold could really prove that the
income of the hospital was malappropriated; why, then, should peace be
sought for on such base terms? What! bribe an unbelieving enemy of
the church with the sister-in-law of one dignitary and the daughter
of another--with a young lady whose connections with the diocese and
chapter of Barchester were so close as to give her an undeniable claim
to a husband endowed with some of its sacred wealth! When Dr Grantly
talks of unbelieving enemies, he does not mean to imply want of belief
in the doctrines of the church, but an equally dangerous scepticism as
to its purity in money matters.
Mrs Grantly is not usually deaf to the claims of the high order to
which she belongs. She and her husband rarely disagree as to the tone
with which the church should be defended; how singular, then, that in
such a case as this she should be willing to succumb! The archdeacon
again murmurs "Good heavens!" as he lays himself beside her, but he
does so in a voice audible only to himself, and he repeats it till
sleep relieves him from deep thought.
Mr Harding himself has seen no reason why his daughter should not love
John Bold. He has not been unobservant of her feelings, and perhaps
his deepest regret at the part which he fears Bold is about to take
regarding the hospital arises from the dread that he may be separated
from his daughter, or that she may be separated from the man she
loves. He has never spoken to Eleanor about her lover; he is the
last man in the world to allude to such a subject unconsulted, even
with his own daughter; and had he considered that he had ground to
disapprove of Bold, he would have removed her, or forbidden him his
house; but he saw no such ground. He would probably have preferred a
second clerical son-in-law, for Mr Harding, also, is attached to his
order; and, failing in that, he would at any rate have wished that
so near a connection should have thought alike with him on church
matters. He would not, however, reject the man his daughter loved
because he differed on such subjects with himself.
Hitherto Bold had taken no steps in the matter in any way annoying
to Mr Harding personally. Some months since, after a severe battle,
which cost him not a little money, he gained a victory over a certain
old turnpike woman in the neighbourhood, of whose charges another old
woman had complained to him. He got the Act of Parliament relating
to the trust, found that his "protégée" had been wrongly taxed,
rode through the gate himself, paying the toll, then brought an
action against the gate-keeper, and proved that all people coming
up a certain by-lane, and going down a certain other by-lane, were
toll-free. The fame of his success spread widely abroad, and he
began to be looked on as the upholder of the rights of the poor of
Barchester. Not long after this success, he heard from different
quarters that Hiram's bedesmen were treated as paupers, whereas the
property to which they were, in effect, heirs was very large; and he
was instigated by the lawyer whom he had employed in the case of the
turnpike to call upon Mr Chadwick for a statement as to the funds of
Bold had often expressed his indignation at the malappropriation of
church funds in general, in the hearing of his friend the precentor;
but the conversation had never referred to anything at Barchester; and
when Finney, the attorney, induced him to interfere with the affairs
of the hospital, it was against Mr Chadwick that his efforts were to
be directed. Bold soon found that if he interfered with Mr Chadwick
as steward, he must also interfere with Mr Harding as warden; and
though he regretted the situation in which this would place him, he
was not the man to flinch from his undertaking from personal motives.
As soon as he had determined to take the matter in hand, he set
about his work with his usual energy. He got a copy of John Hiram's
will, of the wording of which he made himself perfectly master. He
ascertained the extent of the property, and as nearly as he could the
value of it; and made out a schedule of what he was informed was the
present distribution of its income. Armed with these particulars,
he called on Mr Chadwick, having given that gentleman notice of his
visit; and asked him for a statement of the income and expenditure of
the hospital for the last twenty-five years.
This was of course refused, Mr Chadwick alleging that he had no
authority for making public the concerns of a property in managing
which he was only a paid servant.
"And who is competent to give you that authority, Mr Chadwick?" asked
"Only those who employ me, Mr Bold," said the steward.
"And who are those, Mr Chadwick?" demanded Bold.
Mr Chadwick begged to say that if these inquiries were made merely
out of curiosity, he must decline answering them: if Mr Bold had any
ulterior proceeding in view, perhaps it would be desirable that any
necessary information should be sought for in a professional way by
a professional man. Mr Chadwick's attorneys were Messrs Cox and
Cummins, of Lincoln's Inn. Mr Bold took down the address of Cox and
Cummins, remarked that the weather was cold for the time of the year,
and wished Mr Chadwick good-morning. Mr Chadwick said it was cold
for June, and bowed him out.
He at once went to his lawyer, Finney. Now, Bold was not very fond
of his attorney, but, as he said, he merely wanted a man who knew the
forms of law, and who would do what he was told for his money. He
had no idea of putting himself in the hands of a lawyer. He wanted
law from a lawyer as he did a coat from a tailor, because he could
not make it so well himself; and he thought Finney the fittest man
in Barchester for his purpose. In one respect, at any rate, he was
right: Finney was humility itself.
Finney advised an instant letter to Cox and Cummins, mindful of
his six-and-eightpence. "Slap at them at once, Mr Bold. Demand
categorically and explicitly a full statement of the affairs of the
"Suppose I were to see Mr Harding first," suggested Bold.
"Yes, yes, by all means," said the acquiescing Finney; "though,
perhaps, as Mr Harding is no man of business, it may lead--lead
to some little difficulties; but perhaps you're right. Mr Bold, I
don't think seeing Mr Harding can do any harm." Finney saw from the
expression of his client's face that he intended to have his own way.
THE BISHOP OF BARCHESTER
Bold at once repaired to the hospital. The day was now far advanced,
but he knew that Mr Harding dined in the summer at four, that Eleanor
was accustomed to drive in the evening, and that he might therefore
probably find Mr Harding alone. It was between seven and eight when
he reached the slight iron gate leading into the precentor's garden,
and though, as Mr Chadwick observed, the day had been cold for June,
the evening was mild, and soft, and sweet. The little gate was open.
As he raised the latch he heard the notes of Mr Harding's violoncello
from the far end of the garden, and, advancing before the house
and across the lawn, he found him playing;--and not without an
audience. The musician was seated in a garden-chair just within the
summer-house, so as to allow the violoncello which he held between his
knees to rest upon the dry stone flooring; before him stood a rough
music desk, on which was open a page of that dear sacred book, that
much-laboured and much-loved volume of church music, which had cost so
many guineas; and around sat, and lay, and stood, and leaned, ten of
the twelve old men who dwelt with him beneath old John Hiram's roof.
The two reformers were not there. I will not say that in their hearts
they were conscious of any wrong done or to be done to their mild
warden, but latterly they had kept aloof from him, and his music was
no longer to their taste.
It was amusing to see the positions, and eager listening faces of
these well-to-do old men. I will not say that they all appreciated
the music which they heard, but they were intent on appearing to
do so; pleased at being where they were, they were determined, as
far as in them lay, to give pleasure in return; and they were not
unsuccessful. It gladdened the precentor's heart to think that the
old bedesmen whom he loved so well admired the strains which were to
him so full of almost ecstatic joy; and he used to boast that such was
the air of the hospital, as to make it a precinct specially fit for
the worship of St Cecilia.
Immediately before him, on the extreme corner of the bench which
ran round the summer-house, sat one old man, with his handkerchief
smoothly lain upon his knees, who did enjoy the moment, or acted
enjoyment well. He was one on whose large frame many years, for he
was over eighty, had made small havoc;--he was still an upright,
burly, handsome figure, with an open, ponderous brow, round which
clung a few, though very few, thin gray locks. The coarse black gown
of the hospital, the breeches, and buckled shoes became him well; and
as he sat with his hands folded on his staff, and his chin resting on
his hands, he was such a listener as most musicians would be glad to
This man was certainly the pride of the hospital. It had always been
the custom that one should be selected as being to some extent in
authority over the others; and though Mr Bunce, for such was his name,
and so he was always designated by his inferior brethren, had no
greater emoluments than they, he had assumed, and well knew how to
maintain, the dignity of his elevation. The precentor delighted to
call him his sub-warden, and was not ashamed, occasionally, when no
other guest was there, to bid him sit down by the same parlour fire,
and drink the full glass of port which was placed near him. Bunce
never went without the second glass, but no entreaty ever made him
take a third.
"Well, well, Mr Harding; you're too good, much too good," he'd always
say, as the second glass was filled; but when that was drunk, and the
half hour over, Bunce stood erect, and with a benediction which his
patron valued, retired to his own abode. He knew the world too well
to risk the comfort of such halcyon moments, by prolonging them till
they were disagreeable.
Mr Bunce, as may be imagined, was most strongly opposed to innovation.
Not even Dr Grantly had a more holy horror of those who would
interfere in the affairs of the hospital; he was every inch a
churchman, and though he was not very fond of Dr Grantly personally,
that arose from there not being room in the hospital for two people
so much alike as the doctor and himself, rather than from any
dissimilarity in feeling. Mr Bunce was inclined to think that
the warden and himself could manage the hospital without further
assistance; and that, though the bishop was the constitutional
visitor, and as such entitled to special reverence from all connected
with John Hiram's will, John Hiram never intended that his affairs
should be interfered with by an archdeacon.
At the present moment, however, these cares were off his mind, and he
was looking at his warden, as though he thought the music heavenly,
and the musician hardly less so.
As Bold walked silently over the lawn, Mr Harding did not at first
perceive him, and continued to draw his bow slowly across the
plaintive wires; but he soon found from his audience that some
stranger was there, and looking up, began to welcome his young friend
with frank hospitality.
"Pray, Mr Harding--pray don't let me disturb you," said Bold; "you
know how fond I am of sacred music."
"Oh! it's nothing," said the precentor, shutting up the book and then
opening it again as he saw the delightfully imploring look of his old
friend Bunce. Oh, Bunce, Bunce, Bunce, I fear that after all thou art
but a flatterer. "Well, I'll just finish it then; it's a favourite
little bit of Bishop's; and then, Mr Bold, we'll have a stroll and
a chat till Eleanor comes in and gives us tea." And so Bold sat
down on the soft turf to listen, or rather to think how, after such
sweet harmony, he might best introduce a theme of so much discord, to
disturb the peace of him who was so ready to welcome him kindly.
Bold thought that the performance was soon over, for he felt that
he had a somewhat difficult task, and he almost regretted the final
leave-taking of the last of the old men, slow as they were in going
through their adieux.
Bold's heart was in his mouth, as the precentor made some ordinary but
kind remark as to the friendliness of the visit.
"One evening call," said he, "is worth ten in the morning. It's all
formality in the morning; real social talk never begins till after
dinner. That's why I dine early, so as to get as much as I can of
"Quite true, Mr Harding," said the other; "but I fear I've reversed
the order of things, and I owe you much apology for troubling you on
business at such an hour; but it is on business that I have called
Mr Harding looked blank and annoyed; there was something in the
tone of the young man's voice which told him that the interview was
intended to be disagreeable, and he shrank back at finding his kindly
greeting so repulsed.
"I wish to speak to you about the hospital," continued Bold.
"Well, well, anything I can tell you I shall be most happy--"
"It's about the accounts."
"Then, my dear fellow, I can tell you nothing, for I'm as ignorant
as a child. All I know is, that they pay me £800 a year. Go to
Chadwick, he knows all about the accounts; and now tell me, will poor
Mary Jones ever get the use of her limb again?"
"Well, I think she will, if she's careful; but, Mr Harding, I hope
you won't object to discuss with me what I have to say about the
Mr Harding gave a deep, long-drawn sigh. He did object, very strongly
object, to discuss any such subject with John Bold; but he had not the
business tact of Mr Chadwick, and did not know how to relieve himself
from the coming evil; he sighed sadly, but made no answer.
"I have the greatest regard for you, Mr Harding," continued Bold; "the
truest respect, the most sincere--"
"Thank ye, thank ye, Mr Bold," interjaculated the precentor somewhat
impatiently; "I'm much obliged, but never mind that; I'm as likely to
be in the wrong as another man,--quite as likely."
"But, Mr Harding, I must express what I feel, lest you should think
there is personal enmity in what I'm going to do."
"Personal enmity! Going to do! Why, you're not going to cut my
throat, nor put me into the Ecclesiastical Court!"
Bold tried to laugh, but he couldn't. He was quite in earnest, and
determined in his course, and couldn't make a joke of it. He walked
on awhile in silence before he recommenced his attack, during which
Mr Harding, who had still the bow in his hand, played rapidly on an
imaginary violoncello. "I fear there is reason to think that John
Hiram's will is not carried out to the letter, Mr Harding," said the
young man at last; "and I have been asked to see into it."
"Very well, I've no objection on earth; and now we need not say
another word about it."
"Only one word more, Mr Harding. Chadwick has referred me to Cox and
Cummins, and I think it my duty to apply to them for some statement
about the hospital. In what I do I may appear to be interfering with
you, and I hope you will forgive me for doing so."
"Mr Bold," said the other, stopping, and speaking with some solemnity,
"if you act justly, say nothing in this matter but the truth, and use
no unfair weapons in carrying out your purposes, I shall have nothing
to forgive. I presume you think I am not entitled to the income
I receive from the hospital, and that others are entitled to it.
Whatever some may do, I shall never attribute to you base motives
because you hold an opinion opposed to my own and adverse to my
interests: pray do what you consider to be your duty; I can give
you no assistance, neither will I offer you any obstacle. Let me,
however, suggest to you, that you can in no wise forward your views
nor I mine, by any discussion between us. Here comes Eleanor and the
ponies, and we'll go in to tea."
Bold, however, felt that he could not sit down at ease with Mr Harding
and his daughter after what had passed, and therefore excused himself
with much awkward apology; and merely raising his hat and bowing as he
passed Eleanor and the pony chair, left her in disappointed amazement
at his departure.
Mr Harding's demeanour certainly impressed Bold with a full conviction
that the warden felt that he stood on strong grounds, and almost made
him think that he was about to interfere without due warrant in the
private affairs of a just and honourable man; but Mr Harding himself
was anything but satisfied with his own view of the case.
In the first place, he wished for Eleanor's sake to think well of
Bold and to like him, and yet he could not but feel disgusted at the
arrogance of his conduct. What right had he to say that John Hiram's
will was not fairly carried out? But then the question would arise
within his heart,--Was that will fairly acted on? Did John Hiram mean
that the warden of his hospital should receive considerably more out
of the legacy than all the twelve old men together for whose behoof
the hospital was built? Could it be possible that John Bold was
right, and that the reverend warden of the hospital had been for the
last ten years and more the unjust recipient of an income legally and
equitably belonging to others? What if it should be proved before
the light of day that he, whose life had been so happy, so quiet,
so respected, had absorbed eight thousand pounds to which he had no
title, and which he could never repay? I do not say that he feared
that such was really the case; but the first shade of doubt now fell
across his mind, and from this evening, for many a long, long day,
our good, kind loving warden was neither happy nor at ease.
Thoughts of this kind, these first moments of much misery, oppressed
Mr Harding as he sat sipping his tea, absent and ill at ease. Poor
Eleanor felt that all was not right, but her ideas as to the cause of
the evening's discomfort did not go beyond her lover, and his sudden
and uncivil departure. She thought there must have been some quarrel
between Bold and her father, and she was half angry with both, though
she did not attempt to explain to herself why she was so.
Mr Harding thought long and deeply over these things, both before he
went to bed and after it, as he lay awake, questioning within himself
the validity of his claim to the income which he enjoyed. It seemed
clear at any rate that, however unfortunate he might be at having been
placed in such a position, no one could say that he ought either to
have refused the appointment first, or to have rejected the income
afterwards. All the world,--meaning the ecclesiastical world as
confined to the English church,--knew that the wardenship of the
Barchester Hospital was a snug sinecure, but no one had ever been
blamed for accepting it. To how much blame, however, would he have
been open had he rejected it! How mad would he have been thought had
he declared, when the situation was vacant and offered to him, that he
had scruples as to receiving £800 a year from John Hiram's property,
and that he had rather some stranger should possess it! How would Dr
Grantly have shaken his wise head, and have consulted with his friends
in the close as to some decent retreat for the coming insanity of the
poor minor canon! If he was right in accepting the place, it was
clear to him also that he would be wrong in rejecting any part of the
income attached to it. The patronage was a valuable appanage of the
bishopric; and surely it would not be his duty to lessen the value
of that preferment which had been bestowed on himself; surely he was
bound to stand by his order.
But somehow these arguments, though they seemed logical, were not
satisfactory. Was John Hiram's will fairly carried out? that was the
true question: and if not, was it not his especial duty to see that
this was done,--his especial duty, whatever injury it might do to
his order,--however ill such duty might be received by his patron and
his friends? At the idea of his friends, his mind turned unhappily
to his son-in-law. He knew well how strongly he would be supported
by Dr Grantly, if he could bring himself to put his case into the
archdeacon's hands and to allow him to fight the battle; but he knew
also that he would find no sympathy there for his doubts, no friendly
feeling, no inward comfort. Dr Grantly would be ready enough to take
up his cudgel against all comers on behalf of the church militant,
but he would do so on the distasteful ground of the church's
infallibility. Such a contest would give no comfort to Mr Harding's
doubts. He was not so anxious to prove himself right, as to be so.
I have said before that Dr Grantly was the working man of the diocese,
and that his father the bishop was somewhat inclined to an idle life.
So it was; but the bishop, though he had never been an active man, was
one whose qualities had rendered him dear to all who knew him. He
was the very opposite to his son; he was a bland and a kind old man,
opposed by every feeling to authoritative demonstrations and episcopal
ostentation. It was perhaps well for him, in his situation, that his
son had early in life been able to do that which he could not well do
when he was younger, and which he could not have done at all now that
he was over seventy. The bishop knew how to entertain the clergy
of his diocese, to talk easy small-talk with the rectors' wives,
and put curates at their ease; but it required the strong hand of
the archdeacon to deal with such as were refractory either in their
doctrines or their lives.
The bishop and Mr Harding loved each other warmly. They had grown old
together, and had together spent many, many years in clerical pursuits
and clerical conversation. When one of them was a bishop and the
other only a minor canon they were even then much together; but since
their children had married, and Mr Harding had become warden and
precentor, they were all in all to each other. I will not say that
they managed the diocese between them, but they spent much time in
discussing the man who did, and in forming little plans to mitigate
his wrath against church delinquents, and soften his aspirations for
Mr Harding determined to open his mind and confess his doubts to
his old friend; and to him he went on the morning after John Bold's
Up to this period no rumour of these cruel proceedings against the
hospital had reached the bishop's ears. He had doubtless heard that
men existed who questioned his right to present to a sinecure of £800
a year, as he had heard from time to time of some special immorality
or disgraceful disturbance in the usually decent and quiet city of
Barchester: but all he did, and all he was called on to do, on such
occasions, was to shake his head, and to beg his son, the great
dictator, to see that no harm happened to the church.
It was a long story that Mr Harding had to tell before he made the
bishop comprehend his own view of the case; but we need not follow
him through the tale. At first the bishop counselled but one step,
recommended but one remedy, had but one medicine in his whole
pharmacopoeia strong enough to touch so grave a disorder;--he
prescribed the archdeacon. "Refer him to the archdeacon," he
repeated, as Mr Harding spoke of Bold and his visit. "The archdeacon
will set you quite right about that," he kindly said, when his friend
spoke with hesitation of the justness of his cause. "No man has got
up all that so well as the archdeacon;" but the dose, though large,
failed to quiet the patient; indeed it almost produced nausea.
"But, bishop," said he, "did you ever read John Hiram's will?"
The bishop thought probably he had, thirty-five years ago, when
first instituted to his see, but could not state positively: however,
he very well knew that he had the absolute right to present to the
wardenship, and that the income of the warden had been regularly
"But, bishop, the question is, who has the power to settle it?
If, as this young man says, the will provides that the proceeds of
the property are to be divided into shares, who has the power to
alter these provisions?" The bishop had an indistinct idea that
they altered themselves by the lapse of years; that a kind of
ecclesiastical statute of limitation barred the rights of the twelve
bedesmen to any increase of income arising from the increased value of
property. He said something about tradition; more of the many learned
men who by their practice had confirmed the present arrangement;
then went at some length into the propriety of maintaining the due
difference in rank and income between a beneficed clergyman and
certain poor old men who were dependent on charity; and concluded his
argument by another reference to the archdeacon.
The precentor sat thoughtfully gazing at the fire, and listening to
the good-natured reasoning of his friend. What the bishop said had a
sort of comfort in it, but it was not a sustaining comfort. It made
Mr Harding feel that many others,--indeed, all others of his own
order,--would think him right; but it failed to prove to him that he
truly was so.
"Bishop," said he, at last, after both had sat silent for a while, "I
should deceive you and myself too, if I did not tell you that I am
very unhappy about this. Suppose that I cannot bring myself to agree
with Dr Grantly!--that I find, after inquiry, that the young man is
right, and that I am wrong,--what then?"
The two old men were sitting near each other,--so near that the bishop
was able to lay his hand upon the other's knee, and he did so with a
gentle pressure. Mr Harding well knew what that pressure meant. The
bishop had no further argument to adduce; he could not fight for the
cause as his son would do; he could not prove all the precentor's
doubts to be groundless; but he could sympathise with his friend, and
he did so; and Mr Harding felt that he had received that for which he
came. There was another period of silence, after which the bishop
asked, with a degree of irritable energy, very unusual with him,
whether this "pestilent intruder" (meaning John Bold) had any friends
Mr Harding had fully made up his mind to tell the bishop everything;
to speak of his daughter's love, as well as his own troubles; to talk
of John Bold in his double capacity of future son-in-law and present
enemy; and though he felt it to be sufficiently disagreeable, now was
his time to do it.
"He is very intimate at my own house, bishop." The bishop stared. He
was not so far gone in orthodoxy and church militancy as his son, but
still he could not bring himself to understand how so declared an
enemy of the establishment could be admitted on terms of intimacy into
the house, not only of so firm a pillar as Mr Harding, but one so much
injured as the warden of the hospital.
"Indeed, I like Mr Bold much, personally," continued the disinterested
victim; "and to tell you the 'truth,'"--he hesitated as he brought out
the dreadful tidings,--"I have sometimes thought it not improbable
that he would be my second son-in-law." The bishop did not whistle:
we believe that they lose the power of doing so on being consecrated;
and that in these days one might as easily meet a corrupt judge as a
whistling bishop; but he looked as though he would have done so, but
for his apron.
What a brother-in-law for the archdeacon! what an alliance for
Barchester close! what a connection for even the episcopal palace!
The bishop, in his simple mind, felt no doubt that John Bold, had he
so much power, would shut up all cathedrals, and probably all parish
churches; distribute all tithes among Methodists, Baptists, and other
savage tribes; utterly annihilate the sacred bench, and make shovel
hats and lawn sleeves as illegal as cowls, sandals, and sackcloth!
Here was a nice man to be initiated into the comfortable arcana of
ecclesiastical snuggeries; one who doubted the integrity of parsons,
and probably disbelieved the Trinity!
Mr Harding saw what an effect his communication had made, and almost
repented the openness of his disclosure; he, however, did what he
could to moderate the grief of his friend and patron. "I do not say
that there is any engagement between them. Had there been, Eleanor
would have told me; I know her well enough to be assured that she
would have done so; but I see that they are fond of each other; and
as a man and a father, I have had no objection to urge against their
"But, Mr Harding," said the bishop, "how are you to oppose him, if he
is your son-in-law?"
"I don't mean to oppose him; it is he who opposes me; if anything is
to be done in defence, I suppose Chadwick will do it. I suppose--"
"Oh, the archdeacon will see to that: were the young man twice his
brother-in-law, the archdeacon will never be deterred from doing what
he feels to be right."
Mr Harding reminded the bishop that the archdeacon and the reformer
were not yet brothers, and very probably never would be; exacted from
him a promise that Eleanor's name should not be mentioned in any
discussion between the father bishop and son archdeacon respecting the
hospital; and then took his departure, leaving his poor old friend
bewildered, amazed, and confounded.
The parties most interested in the movement which is about to set
Barchester by the ears were not the foremost to discuss the merit
of the question, as is often the case; but when the bishop, the
archdeacon, the warden, the steward, and Messrs Cox and Cummins,
were all busy with the matter, each in his own way, it is not to be
supposed that Hiram's bedesmen themselves were altogether passive
spectators. Finney, the attorney, had been among them, asking sly
questions, and raising immoderate hopes, creating a party hostile
to the warden, and establishing a corps in the enemy's camp, as he
figuratively calls it to himself. Poor old men: whoever may be
righted or wronged by this inquiry, they at any rate will assuredly
be only injured: to them it can only be an unmixed evil. How can
their lot be improved? all their wants are supplied; every comfort is
administered; they have warm houses, good clothes, plentiful diet,
and rest after a life of labour; and above all, that treasure so
inestimable in declining years, a true and kind friend to listen to
their sorrows, watch over their sickness, and administer comfort as
regards this world, and the world to come!
John Bold sometimes thinks of this, when he is talking loudly of the
rights of the bedesmen, whom he has taken under his protection; but he
quiets the suggestion within his breast with the high-sounding name
of justice: ""Fiat justitia, ruat coelum"." These old men should,
by rights, have one hundred pounds a year instead of one shilling
and sixpence a day, and the warden should have two hundred or three
hundred pounds instead of eight hundred pounds. What is unjust must
be wrong; what is wrong should be righted; and if he declined the
task, who else would do it?
"Each one of you is clearly entitled to one hundred pounds a year by
common law": such had been the important whisper made by Finney into
the ears of Abel Handy, and by him retailed to his eleven brethren.
Too much must not be expected from the flesh and blood even of John
Hiram's bedesmen, and the positive promise of one hundred a year to
each of the twelve old men had its way with most of them. The great
Bunce was not to be wiled away, and was upheld in his orthodoxy by
two adherents. Abel Handy, who was the leader of the aspirants after
wealth, had, alas, a stronger following. No less than five of the
twelve soon believed that his views were just, making with their
leader a moiety of the hospital. The other three, volatile unstable
minds, vacillated between the two chieftains, now led away by the hope
of gold, now anxious to propitiate the powers that still existed.
It had been proposed to address a petition to the bishop as visitor,
praying his lordship to see justice done to the legal recipients of
John Hiram's Charity, and to send copies of this petition and of the
reply it would elicit to all the leading London papers, and thereby
to obtain notoriety for the subject. This it was thought would pave
the way for ulterior legal proceedings. It would have been a great
thing to have had the signatures and marks of all the twelve injured
legatees; but this was impossible: Bunce would have cut his hand off
sooner than have signed it. It was then suggested by Finney that
if even eleven could be induced to sanction the document, the one
obstinate recusant might have been represented as unfit to judge on
such a question,--in fact, as being "non compos mentis",--and the
petition would have been taken as representing the feeling of the men.
But this could not be done: Bunce's friends were as firm as himself,
and as yet only six crosses adorned the document. It was the more
provoking, as Bunce himself could write his name legibly, and one of
those three doubting souls had for years boasted of like power, and
possessed, indeed, a Bible, in which he was proud to show his name
written by himself some thirty years ago--"Job Skulpit;" but it was
thought that Job Skulpit, having forgotten his scholarship, on that
account recoiled from the petition, and that the other doubters would
follow as he led them. A petition signed by half the hospital would
have but a poor effect.
It was in Skulpit's room that the petition was now lying, waiting such
additional signatures as Abel Handy, by his eloquence, could obtain
for it. The six marks it bore were duly attested, thus:
his his his
Abel X Handy, Gregy X Moody, Mathew X Spriggs,
mark mark mark
&c., and places were duly designated in pencil for those brethren who
were now expected to join: for Skulpit alone was left a spot on which
his genuine signature might be written in fair clerk-like style.
Handy had brought in the document, and spread it out on the small deal
table, and was now standing by it persuasive and eager. Moody had
followed with an inkhorn, carefully left behind by Finney; and Spriggs
bore aloft, as though it were a sword, a well-worn ink-black pen,
which from time to time he endeavoured to thrust into Skulpit's
With the learned man were his two abettors in indecision, William Gazy
and Jonathan Crumple. If ever the petition were to be forwarded, now
was the time,--so said Mr Finney; and great was the anxiety on the
part of those whose one hundred pounds a year, as they believed,
mainly depended on the document in question.
"To be kept out of all that money," as the avaricious Moody had
muttered to his friend Handy, "by an old fool saying that he can
write his own name like his betters!"
"Well, Job," said Handy, trying to impart to his own sour,
ill-omened visage a smile of approbation, in which he greatly
failed; "so you're ready now, Mr Finney says; here's the
place, d'ye see;"--and he put his huge brown finger down on
the dirty paper;--"name or mark, it's all one. Come along,
old boy; if so be we're to have the spending of this money,
why the sooner the better,--that's my maxim."
"To be sure," said Moody. "We a'n't none of us so young; we can't
stay waiting for old Catgut no longer."
It was thus these miscreants named our excellent friend. The nickname
he could easily have forgiven, but the allusion to the divine source
of all his melodious joy would have irritated even him. Let us hope
he never knew the insult.
"Only think, old Billy Gazy," said Spriggs, who rejoiced in greater
youth than his brethren, but having fallen into a fire when drunk, had
had one eye burnt out, one cheek burnt through, and one arm nearly
burnt off, and who, therefore, in regard to personal appearance, was
not the most prepossessing of men, "a hundred a year, and all to
spend; only think, old Billy Gazy;" and he gave a hideous grin that
showed off his misfortunes to their full extent.
Old Billy Gazy was not alive to much enthusiasm. Even these golden
prospects did not arouse him to do more than rub his poor old bleared
eyes with the cuff of his bedesman's gown, and gently mutter: "he
didn't know, not he; he didn't know."
"But you'd know, Jonathan," continued Spriggs, turning to the other
friend of Skulpit's, who was sitting on a stool by the table, gazing
vacantly at the petition. Jonathan Crumple was a meek, mild man, who
had known better days; his means had been wasted by bad children,
who had made his life wretched till he had been received into the
hospital, of which he had not long been a member. Since that day he
had known neither sorrow nor trouble, and this attempt to fill him
with new hopes was, indeed, a cruelty.
"A hundred a year's a nice thing, for sartain, neighbour Spriggs,"
said he. "I once had nigh to that myself, but it didn't do me no
good." And he gave a low sigh, as he thought of the children of his
own loins who had robbed him.
"And shall have again, Joe," said Handy; "and will have someone to
keep it right and tight for you this time."
Crumple sighed again;--he had learned the impotency of worldly wealth,
and would have been satisfied, if left untempted, to have remained
happy with one and sixpence a day.
"Come, Skulpit," repeated Handy, getting impatient, "you're not going
to go along with old Bunce in helping that parson to rob us all.
Take the pen, man, and right yourself. Well," he added, seeing that
Skulpit still doubted, "to see a man as is afraid to stand by hisself
is, to my thinking, the meanest thing as is."
"Sink them all for parsons, says I," growled Moody; "hungry beggars,
as never thinks their bellies full till they have robbed all and
"Who's to harm you, man?" argued Spriggs. "Let them look never so
black at you, they can't get you put out when you're once in;--no,
not old Catgut, with Calves to help him!" I am sorry to say the
archdeacon himself was designated by this scurrilous allusion to his
"A hundred a year to win, and nothing to lose," continued Handy. "My
eyes! Well, how a man's to doubt about sich a bit of cheese as that
passes me;--but some men is timorous;--some men is born with no pluck
in them;--some men is cowed at the very first sight of a gentleman's
coat and waistcoat."
Oh, Mr Harding, if you had but taken the archdeacon's advice in that
disputed case, when Joe Mutters was this ungrateful demagogue's rival
"Afraid of a parson," growled Moody, with a look of ineffable scorn.
"I tell ye what I'd be afraid of--I'd be afraid of not getting nothing
from 'em but just what I could take by might and right;--that's the
most I'd be afraid on of any parson of 'em all."
"But," said Skulpit, apologetically, "Mr Harding's not so bad;--he did
give us twopence a day, didn't he now?"
"Twopence a day!" exclaimed Spriggs with scorn, opening awfully the
red cavern of his lost eye.
"Twopence a day!" muttered Moody with a curse; "sink his twopence!"
"Twopence a day!" exclaimed Handy; "and I'm to go, hat in hand, and
thank a chap for twopence a day, when he owes me a hundred pounds a
year; no, thank ye; that may do for you, but it won't for me. Come,
I say, Skulpit, are you a going to put your mark to this here paper,
or are you not?"
Skulpit looked round in wretched indecision to his two friends. "What
d'ye think, Bill Gazy?" said he.
But Bill Gazy couldn't think. He made a noise like the bleating of an
old sheep, which was intended to express the agony of his doubt, and
again muttered that "he didn't know."
"Take hold, you old cripple," said Handy, thrusting the pen into poor
Billy's hand: "there, so--ugh! you old fool, you've been and smeared
it all,--there,--that'll do for you;--that's as good as the best
name as ever was written": and a big blotch of ink was presumed to
represent Billy Gazy's acquiescence.
"Now, Jonathan," said Handy, turning to Crumple.
"A hundred a year's a nice thing, for sartain," again argued Crumple.
"Well, neighbour Skulpit, how's it to be?"
"Oh, please yourself," said Skulpit: "please yourself, and you'll
The pen was thrust into Crumple's hand, and a faint, wandering,
meaningless sign was made, betokening such sanction and authority as
Jonathan Crumple was able to convey.
"Come, Job," said Handy, softened by success, "don't let 'em have to
say that old Bunce has a man like you under his thumb,--a man that
always holds his head in the hospital as high as Bunce himself, though
you're never axed to drink wine, and sneak, and tell lies about your
betters as he does."
Skulpit held the pen, and made little flourishes with it in the air,
but still hesitated.
"And if you'll be said by me," continued Handy, "you'll not write your
name to it at all, but just put your mark like the others;"--the cloud
began to clear from Skulpit's brow;--"we all know you can do it if you
like, but maybe you wouldn't like to seem uppish, you know."
"Well, the mark would be best," said Skulpit. "One name and the rest
marks wouldn't look well, would it?"
"The worst in the world," said Handy; "there--there": and stooping
over the petition, the learned clerk made a huge cross on the place
left for his signature.
"That's the game," said Handy, triumphantly pocketing the petition;
"we're all in a boat now, that is, the nine of us; and as for old
Bunce, and his cronies, they may--" But as he was hobbling off to the
door, with a crutch on one side and a stick on the other, he was met
by Bunce himself.
"Well Handy, and what may old Bunce do?" said the gray-haired, upright
Handy muttered something, and was departing; but he was stopped in the
doorway by the huge frame of the newcomer.
"You've been doing no good here, Abel Handy," said he, "'tis plain to
see that; and 'tisn't much good, I'm thinking, you ever do."
"I mind my own business, Master Bunce," muttered the other, "and do
you do the same. It ain't nothing to you what I does;--and your
spying and poking here won't do no good nor yet no harm."
"I suppose then, Job," continued Bunce, not noticing his opponent, "if
the truth must out, you've stuck your name to that petition of theirs
Skulpit looked as though he were about to sink into the ground with
"What is it to you what he signs?" said Handy. "I suppose if we all
wants to ax for our own, we needn't ax leave of you first, Mr Bunce,
big a man as you are; and as to your sneaking in here, into Job's room
when he's busy, and where you're not wanted--"
"I've knowed Job Skulpit, man and boy, sixty years," said Bunce,
looking at the man of whom he spoke, "and that's ever since the day
he was born. I knowed the mother that bore him, when she and I were
little wee things, picking daisies together in the close yonder; and
I've lived under the same roof with him more nor ten years; and after
that I may come into his room without axing leave, and yet no sneaking
"So you can, Mr Bunce," said Skulpit; "so you can, any hour, day or
"And I'm free also to tell him my mind," continued Bunce, looking at
the one man and addressing the other; "and I tell him now that he's
done a foolish and a wrong thing. He's turned his back upon one
who is his best friend; and is playing the game of others, who care
nothing for him, whether he be poor or rich, well or ill, alive or
dead. A hundred a year? Are the lot of you soft enough to think that
if a hundred a year be to be given, it's the likes of you that will
get it?"--and he pointed to Billy Gazy, Spriggs, and Crumple. "Did
any of us ever do anything worth half the money? Was it to make
gentlemen of us we were brought in here, when all the world turned
against us, and we couldn't longer earn our daily bread? A'n't you
all as rich in your ways as he in his?"--and the orator pointed to
the side on which the warden lived. "A'n't you getting all you hoped
for, ay, and more than you hoped for? Wouldn't each of you have given
the dearest limb of his body to secure that which now makes you so
"We wants what John Hiram left us," said Handy. "We wants what's ourn
by law; it don't matter what we expected. What's ourn by law should
be ourn, and by goles we'll have it."
"Law!" said Bunce, with all the scorn he knew how to command--"law!
Did ye ever know a poor man yet was the better for law, or for a
lawyer? Will Mr Finney ever be as good to you, Job, as that man has
been? Will he see to you when you're sick, and comfort you when
you're wretched? Will he--"
"No, nor give you port wine, old boy, on cold winter nights! he won't
do that, will he?" asked Handy; and laughing at the severity of his
own wit, he and his colleagues retired, carrying with them, however,
the now powerful petition.
There is no help for spilt milk; and Mr Bunce could only retire to
his own room, disgusted at the frailty of human nature. Job Skulpit
scratched his head;--Jonathan Crumple again remarked, that, "for
sartain, sure a hundred a year was very nice;"--and Billy Gazy again
rubbed his eyes, and lowly muttered that "he didn't know."
DR GRANTLY VISITS THE HOSPITAL
Though doubt and hesitation disturbed the rest of our poor warden, no
such weakness perplexed the nobler breast of his son-in-law. As the
indomitable cock preparing for the combat sharpens his spurs, shakes
his feathers, and erects his comb, so did the archdeacon arrange his
weapons for the coming war, without misgiving and without fear. That
he was fully confident of the justice of his cause let no one doubt.
Many a man can fight his battle with good courage, but with a doubting
conscience. Such was not the case with Dr Grantly. He did not
believe in the Gospel with more assurance than he did in the sacred
justice of all ecclesiastical revenues. When he put his shoulder to
the wheel to defend the income of the present and future precentors
of Barchester, he was animated by as strong a sense of a holy cause,
as that which gives courage to a missionary in Africa, or enables a
sister of mercy to give up the pleasures of the world for the wards
of a hospital. He was about to defend the holy of holies from the
touch of the profane; to guard the citadel of his church from the
most rampant of its enemies; to put on his good armour in the best of
fights, and secure, if possible, the comforts of his creed for coming
generations of ecclesiastical dignitaries. Such a work required no
ordinary vigour; and the archdeacon was, therefore, extraordinarily
vigorous. It demanded a buoyant courage, and a heart happy in its
toil; and the archdeacon's heart was happy, and his courage was
He knew that he would not be able to animate his father-in-law
with feelings like his own, but this did not much disturb him. He
preferred to bear the brunt of the battle alone, and did not doubt
that the warden would resign himself into his hands with passive
"Well, Mr Chadwick," he said, walking into the steward's office a day
or two after the signing of the petition as commemorated in the last
chapter: "anything from Cox and Cummins this morning?" Mr Chadwick
handed him a letter; which he read, stroking the tight-gaitered calf
of his right leg as he did so. Messrs Cox and Cummins merely said
that they had as yet received no notice from their adversaries;
that they could recommend no preliminary steps; but that should any
proceeding really be taken by the bedesmen, it would be expedient to
consult that very eminent Queen's Counsel, Sir Abraham Haphazard.
"I quite agree with them," said Dr Grantly, refolding the letter.
"I perfectly agree with them. Haphazard is no doubt the best man; a
thorough churchman, a sound conservative, and in every respect the
best man we could get;--he's in the House, too, which is a great
Mr Chadwick quite agreed.
"You remember how completely he put down that scoundrel Horseman about
the Bishop of Beverley's income; how completely he set them all adrift
in the earl's case." Since the question of St Cross had been mooted
by the public, one noble lord had become "the earl," "par excellence",
in the doctor's estimation. "How he silenced that fellow at
Rochester. Of course we must have Haphazard; and I'll tell you what,
Mr Chadwick, we must take care to be in time, or the other party will
With all his admiration for Sir Abraham, the doctor seemed to think
it not impossible that that great man might be induced to lend his
gigantic powers to the side of the church's enemies.
Having settled this point to his satisfaction, the doctor stepped down
to the hospital, to learn how matters were going on there; and as he
walked across the hallowed close, and looked up at the ravens who
cawed with a peculiar reverence as he wended his way, he thought with
increased acerbity of those whose impiety would venture to disturb the
goodly grace of cathedral institutions.
And who has not felt the same? We believe that Mr Horseman himself
would relent, and the spirit of Sir Benjamin Hall give way, were those
great reformers to allow themselves to stroll by moonlight round the
towers of some of our ancient churches. Who would not feel charity
for a prebendary when walking the quiet length of that long aisle at
Winchester, looking at those decent houses, that trim grass-plat, and
feeling, as one must, the solemn, orderly comfort of the spot! Who
could be hard upon a dean while wandering round the sweet close of
Hereford, and owning that in that precinct, tone and colour, design
and form, solemn tower and storied window, are all in unison, and all
perfect! Who could lie basking in the cloisters of Salisbury, and
gaze on Jewel's library and that unequalled spire, without feeling
that bishops should sometimes be rich!
The tone of our archdeacon's mind must not astonish us; it has been
the growth of centuries of church ascendancy; and though some fungi
now disfigure the tree, though there be much dead wood, for how much
good fruit have not we to be thankful? Who, without remorse, can
batter down the dead branches of an old oak, now useless, but, ah!
still so beautiful, or drag out the fragments of the ancient forest,
without feeling that they sheltered the younger plants, to which they
are now summoned to give way in a tone so peremptory and so harsh?
The archdeacon, with all his virtues, was not a man of delicate
feeling; and after having made his morning salutations in the warden's
drawing-room, he did not scruple to commence an attack on "pestilent"
John Bold in the presence of Miss Harding, though he rightly guessed
that that lady was not indifferent to the name of his enemy.
"Nelly, my dear, fetch me my spectacles from the back room," said her
father, anxious to save both her blushes and her feelings.
Eleanor brought the spectacles, while her father was trying, in
ambiguous phrases, to explain to her too-practical brother-in-law that
it might be as well not to say anything about Bold before her, and
then retreated. Nothing had been explained to her about Bold and the
hospital; but, with a woman's instinct she knew that things were going
"We must soon be doing something," commenced the archdeacon, wiping
his brows with a large, bright-coloured handkerchief, for he had felt
busy, and had walked quick, and it was a broiling summer's day. "Of
course you have heard of the petition?"
Mr Harding owned, somewhat unwillingly, that he had heard of it.
"Well!"--the archdeacon looked for some expressions of opinion, but
none coming, he continued,--"We must be doing something, you know; we
mustn't allow these people to cut the ground from under us while we
sit looking on." The archdeacon, who was a practical man, allowed
himself the use of everyday expressive modes of speech when among his
closest intimates, though no one could soar into a more intricate
labyrinth of refined phraseology when the church was the subject, and
his lower brethren were his auditors.
The warden still looked mutely in his face, making the slightest
possible passes with an imaginary fiddle bow, and stopping, as he
did so, sundry imaginary strings with the fingers of his other hand.
'Twas his constant consolation in conversational troubles. While
these vexed him sorely, the passes would be short and slow, and the
upper hand would not be seen to work; nay, the strings on which it
operated would sometimes lie concealed in the musician's pocket, and
the instrument on which he played would be beneath his chair;--but as
his spirit warmed to the subject,--as his trusting heart looking to
the bottom of that which vexed him, would see its clear way out,--he
would rise to a higher melody, sweep the unseen strings with a bolder
hand, and swiftly fingering the cords from his neck, down along his
waistcoat, and up again to his very ear, create an ecstatic strain of
perfect music, audible to himself and to St Cecilia, and not without
"I quite agree with Cox and Cummins," continued the archdeacon.
"They say we must secure Sir Abraham Haphazard. I shall not have
the slightest fear in leaving the case in Sir Abraham's hands."
The warden played the slowest and saddest of tunes. It was but a
dirge on one string.
"I think Sir Abraham will not be long in letting Master Bold know what
he's about. I fancy I hear Sir Abraham cross-questioning him at the
The warden thought of his income being thus discussed, his modest
life, his daily habits, and his easy work; and nothing issued from
that single cord, but a low wail of sorrow. "I suppose they've sent
this petition up to my father." The warden didn't know; he imagined
they would do so this very day.
"What I can't understand is, how you let them do it, with such a
command as you have in the place, or should have with such a man as
Bunce. I cannot understand why you let them do it."
"Do what?" asked the warden.
"Why, listen to this fellow Bold, and that other low pettifogger,
Finney;--and get up this petition too. Why didn't you tell Bunce to
destroy the petition?"
"That would have been hardly wise," said the warden.
"Wise;--yes, it would have been very wise if they'd done it among
themselves. I must go up to the palace and answer it now, I suppose.
It's a very short answer they'll get, I can tell you."
"But why shouldn't they petition, doctor?"
"Why shouldn't they!" responded the archdeacon, in a loud brazen
voice, as though all the men in the hospital were expected to hear him
through the walls; "why shouldn't they? I'll let them know why they
shouldn't; by the bye, warden, I'd like to say a few words to them all
The warden's mind misgave him, and even for a moment he forgot to
play. He by no means wished to delegate to his son-in-law his place
and authority of warden; he had expressly determined not to interfere
in any step which the men might wish to take in the matter under
dispute; he was most anxious neither to accuse them nor to defend
himself. All these things he was aware the archdeacon would do in his
behalf, and that not in the mildest manner; and yet he knew not how to
refuse the permission requested.
"I'd so much sooner remain quiet in the matter," said he, in an
"Quiet!" said the archdeacon, still speaking with his brazen trumpet;
"do you wish to be ruined in quiet?"
"Why, if I am to be ruined, certainly."
"Nonsense, warden; I tell you something must be done;--we must act;
just let me ring the bell, and send the men word that I'll speak to
them in the quad."
Mr Harding knew not how to resist, and the disagreeable order was
given. The quad, as it was familiarly called, was a small quadrangle,
open on one side to the river, and surrounded on the others by the
high wall of Mr Harding's garden, by one gable end of Mr Harding's
house, and by the end of the row of buildings which formed the
residences of the bedesmen. It was flagged all round, and the centre
was stoned; small stone gutters ran from the four corners of the
square to a grating in the centre; and attached to the end of Mr
Harding's house was a conduit with four cocks covered over from the
weather, at which the old men got their water, and very generally
performed their morning toilet. It was a quiet, sombre place, shaded
over by the trees of the warden's garden. On the side towards the
river, there stood a row of stone seats, on which the old men would
sit and gaze at the little fish, as they flitted by in the running
stream. On the other side of the river was a rich, green meadow,
running up to and joining the deanery, and as little open to the
public as the garden of the dean itself. Nothing, therefore, could be
more private than the quad of the hospital; and it was there that the
archdeacon determined to convey to them his sense of their refractory
The servant soon brought in word that the men were assembled in the
quad, and the archdeacon, big with his purpose, rose to address them.
"Well, warden, of course you're coming," said he, seeing that Mr
Harding did not prepare to follow him.
"I wish you'd excuse me," said Mr Harding.
"For heaven's sake, don't let us have division in the camp," replied
the archdeacon: "let us have a long pull and a strong pull, but above
all a pull all together; come, warden, come; don't be afraid of your
Mr Harding was afraid; he was afraid that he was being led to do that
which was not his duty; he was not, however, strong enough to resist,
so he got up and followed his son-in-law.
The old men were assembled in groups in the quadrangle--eleven of them
at least, for poor old Johnny Bell was bed-ridden, and couldn't come;
he had, however, put his mark to the petition, as one of Handy's
earliest followers. 'Tis true he could not move from the bed where
he lay; 'tis true he had no friend on earth, but those whom the
hospital contained; and of those the warden and his daughter were
the most constant and most appreciated; 'tis true that everything was
administered to him which his failing body could require, or which his
faint appetite could enjoy; but still his dull eye had glistened for a
moment at the idea of possessing a hundred pounds a year "to his own
cheek," as Abel Handy had eloquently expressed it; and poor old Johnny
Bell had greedily put his mark to the petition.
When the two clergymen appeared, they all uncovered their heads.
Handy was slow to do it, and hesitated; but the black coat and
waistcoat of which he had spoken so irreverently in Skulpit's room,
had its effect even on him, and he too doffed his hat. Bunce,
advancing before the others, bowed lowly to the archdeacon, and with
affectionate reverence expressed his wish, that the warden and Miss
Eleanor were quite well; "and the doctor's lady," he added, turning
to the archdeacon, "and the children at Plumstead, and my lord;" and
having made his speech, he also retired among the others, and took
his place with the rest upon the stone benches.
As the archdeacon stood up to make his speech, erect in the middle of
that little square, he looked like an ecclesiastical statue placed
there, as a fitting impersonation of the church militant here on
earth; his shovel hat, large, new, and well-pronounced, a churchman's
hat in every inch, declared the profession as plainly as does the
Quaker's broad brim; his heavy eyebrows, large open eyes, and full
mouth and chin expressed the solidity of his order; the broad chest,
amply covered with fine cloth, told how well to do was its estate; one
hand ensconced within his pocket, evinced the practical hold which our
mother church keeps on her temporal possessions; and the other, loose
for action, was ready to fight if need be in her defence; and, below
these, the decorous breeches, and neat black gaiters showing so
admirably that well-turned leg, betokened the decency, the outward
beauty and grace of our church establishment.
"Now, my men," he began, when he had settled himself well in his
position, "I want to say a few words to you. Your good friend, the
warden here, and myself, and my lord the bishop, on whose behalf I
wish to speak to you, would all be very sorry, very sorry indeed,
that you should have any just ground of complaint. Any just ground
of complaint on your part would be removed at once by the warden, or
by his lordship, or by me on his behalf, without the necessity of
any petition on your part." Here the orator stopped for a moment,
expecting that some little murmurs of applause would show that
the weakest of the men were beginning to give way; but no such
murmurs came. Bunce, himself, even sat with closed lips, mute and
unsatisfactory. "Without the necessity of any petition at all," he
repeated. "I'm told you have addressed a petition to my lord." He
paused for a reply from the men, and after a while, Handy plucked up
courage and said, "Yes, we has."
"You have addressed a petition to my lord, in which, as I am informed,
you express an opinion that you do not receive from Hiram's estate all
that is your due." Here most of the men expressed their assent. "Now
what is it you ask for? What is it you want that you hav'n't got
here? What is it--"
"A hundred a year," muttered old Moody, with a voice as if it came out
of the ground.
"A hundred a year!" ejaculated the archdeacon militant, defying the
impudence of these claimants with one hand stretched out and closed,
while with the other he tightly grasped, and secured within his
breeches pocket, that symbol of the church's wealth which his own
loose half-crowns not unaptly represented. "A hundred a year!
Why, my men, you must be mad; and you talk about John Hiram's will!
When John Hiram built a hospital for worn-out old men, worn-out old
labouring men, infirm old men past their work, cripples, blind,
bed-ridden, and such like, do you think he meant to make gentlemen of
them? Do you think John Hiram intended to give a hundred a year to
old single men, who earned perhaps two shillings or half-a-crown a day
for themselves and families in the best of their time? No, my men,
I'll tell you what John Hiram meant: he meant that twelve poor old
worn-out labourers, men who could no longer support themselves, who
had no friends to support them, who must starve and perish miserably
if not protected by the hand of charity;--he meant that twelve such
men as these should come in here in their poverty and wretchedness,
and find within these walls shelter and food before their death, and a
little leisure to make their peace with God. That was what John Hiram
meant: you have not read John Hiram's will, and I doubt whether those
wicked men who are advising you have done so. I have; I know what his
will was; and I tell you that that was his will, and that that was his
Not a sound came from the eleven bedesmen, as they sat listening to
what, according to the archdeacon, was their intended estate. They
grimly stared upon his burly figure, but did not then express, by word
or sign, the anger and disgust to which such language was sure to give
"Now let me ask you," he continued: "do you think you are worse off
than John Hiram intended to make you? Have you not shelter, and food,
and leisure? Have you not much more? Have you not every indulgence
which you are capable of enjoying? Have you not twice better food,
twice a better bed, ten times more money in your pocket than you were
ever able to earn for yourselves before you were lucky enough to get
into this place? And now you send a petition to the bishop, asking
for a hundred pounds a year! I tell you what, my friends; you are
deluded, and made fools of by wicked men who are acting for their
own ends. You will never get a hundred pence a year more than what
you have now: it is very possible that you may get less; it is very
possible that my lord the bishop, and your warden, may make changes--"
"No, no, no," interrupted Mr Harding, who had been listening with
indescribable misery to the tirade of his son-in-law; "no, my friends.
I want no changes,--at least no changes that shall make you worse off
than you now are, as long as you and I live together."
"God bless you, Mr Harding," said Bunce; and "God bless you, Mr
Harding, God bless you, sir: we know you was always our friend," was
exclaimed by enough of the men to make it appear that the sentiment
The archdeacon had been interrupted in his speech before he had quite
finished it; but he felt that he could not recommence with dignity
after this little ebullition, and he led the way back into the garden,
followed by his father-in-law.
"Well," said he, as soon as he found himself within the cool retreat
of the warden's garden; "I think I spoke to them plainly." And he
wiped the perspiration from his brow; for making a speech under a
broiling mid-day sun in summer, in a full suit of thick black cloth,
is warm work.
"Yes, you were plain enough," replied the warden, in a tone which did
not express approbation.
"And that's everything," said the other, who was clearly well
satisfied with himself; "that's everything: with those sort of people
one must be plain, or one will not be understood. Now, I think they
did understand me;--I think they knew what I meant."
The warden agreed. He certainly thought they had understood to the
full what had been said to them.
"They know pretty well what they have to expect from us; they know how
we shall meet any refractory spirit on their part; they know that we
are not afraid of them. And now I'll just step into Chadwick's, and
tell him what I've done; and then I'll go up to the palace, and answer
this petition of theirs."
The warden's mind was very full,--full nearly to overcharging itself;
and had it done so,--had he allowed himself to speak the thoughts
which were working within him, he would indeed have astonished the
archdeacon by the reprobation he would have expressed as to the
proceeding of which he had been so unwilling a witness. But different
feelings kept him silent; he was as yet afraid of differing from his
son-in-law;--he was anxious beyond measure to avoid even a semblance
of rupture with any of his order, and was painfully fearful of having
to come to an open quarrel with any person on any subject. His life
had hitherto been so quiet, so free from strife; his little early
troubles had required nothing but passive fortitude; his subsequent
prosperity had never forced upon him any active cares,--had never
brought him into disagreeable contact with anyone. He felt that
he would give almost anything,--much more than he knew he ought to
do,--to relieve himself from the storm which he feared was coming.
It was so hard that the pleasant waters of his little stream should be
disturbed and muddied by rough hands; that his quiet paths should be
made a battlefield; that the unobtrusive corner of the world which had
been allotted to him, as though by Providence, should be invaded and
desecrated, and all within it made miserable and unsound.
Money he had none to give; the knack of putting guineas together
had never belonged to him; but how willingly, with what a foolish
easiness, with what happy alacrity, would he have abandoned the half
of his income for all time to come, could he by so doing have quietly
dispelled the clouds that were gathering over him,--could he have thus
compromised the matter between the reformer and the conservative,
between his possible son-in-law, Bold, and his positive son-in-law,
And this compromise would not have been made from any prudential
motive of saving what would yet remain, for Mr Harding still felt
little doubt but he should be left for life in quiet possession of the
good things he had, if he chose to retain them. No; he would have
done so from the sheer love of quiet, and from a horror of being made
the subject of public talk. He had very often been moved to pity.--to
that inward weeping of the heart for others' woes; but none had he
ever pitied more than that old lord, whose almost fabulous wealth,
drawn from his church preferments, had become the subject of so much
opprobrium, of such public scorn; that wretched clerical octogenarian
Croesus, whom men would not allow to die in peace,--whom all the world
united to decry and to abhor.
Was he to suffer such a fate? Was his humble name to be bandied in
men's mouths, as the gormandiser of the resources of the poor, as
of one who had filched from the charity of other ages wealth which
had been intended to relieve the old and the infirm? Was he to be
gibbeted in the press, to become a byword for oppression, to be named
as an example of the greed of the English church? Should it ever
be said that he had robbed those old men, whom he so truly and so
tenderly loved in his heart of hearts? As he slowly paced, hour after
hour, under those noble lime-trees, turning these sad thoughts within
him, he became all but fixed in his resolve that some great step must
be taken to relieve him from the risk of so terrible a fate.
In the meanwhile, the archdeacon, with contented mind and unruffled
spirit, went about his business. He said a word or two to Mr
Chadwick, and then finding, as he expected, the petition lying in his
father's library, he wrote a short answer to the men, in which he told
them that they had no evils to redress, but rather great mercies for
which to be thankful; and having seen the bishop sign it, he got into
his brougham and returned home to Mrs Grantly, and Plumstead Episcopi.
THE WARDEN'S TEA PARTY
After much painful doubting, on one thing only could Mr Harding
resolve. He determined that at any rate he would take no offence, and
that he would make this question no cause of quarrel either with Bold
or with the bedesmen. In furtherance of this resolution, he himself
wrote a note to Mr Bold, the same afternoon, inviting him to meet a
few friends and hear some music on an evening named in the next week.
Had not this little party been promised to Eleanor, in his present
state of mind he would probably have avoided such gaiety; but the
promise had been given, the invitations were to be written, and when
Eleanor consulted her father on the subject, she was not ill pleased
to hear him say, "Oh, I was thinking of Bold, so I took it into my
head to write to him myself, but you must write to his sister."
Mary Bold was older than her brother, and, at the time of our story,
was just over thirty. She was not an unattractive young woman, though
by no means beautiful. Her great merit was the kindliness of her
disposition. She was not very clever, nor very animated, nor had she
apparently the energy of her brother; but she was guided by a high
principle of right and wrong; her temper was sweet, and her faults
were fewer in number than her virtues. Those who casually met Mary
Bold thought little of her; but those who knew her well loved her
well, and the longer they knew her the more they loved her. Among
those who were fondest of her was Eleanor Harding; and though Eleanor
had never openly talked to her of her brother, each understood the
other's feelings about him. The brother and sister were sitting
together when the two notes were brought in.
"How odd," said Mary, "that they should send two notes. Well, if Mr
Harding becomes fashionable, the world is going to change."
Her brother understood immediately the nature and intention of the
peace-offering; but it was not so easy for him to behave well in the
matter, as it was for Mr Harding. It is much less difficult for the
sufferer to be generous than for the oppressor. John Bold felt that
he could not go to the warden's party: he never loved Eleanor better
than he did now; he had never so strongly felt how anxious he was
to make her his wife as now, when so many obstacles to his doing
so appeared in view. Yet here was her father himself, as it were,
clearing away those very obstacles, and still he felt that he could
not go to the house any more as an open friend.
As he sat thinking of these things with the note in his hand, his
sister was waiting for his decision.
"Well," said she, "I suppose we must write separate answers, and both
say we shall be very happy."
"You'll go, of course, Mary," said he; to which she readily assented.
"I cannot," he continued, looking serious and gloomy. "I wish I
could, with all my heart."
"And why not, John?" said she. She had as yet heard nothing of the
new-found abuse which her brother was about to reform;--at least
nothing which connected it with her brother's name.
He sat thinking for a while till he determined that it would be best
to tell her at once what it was that he was about: it must be done
sooner or later.
"I fear I cannot go to Mr Harding's house any more as a friend, just
"Oh, John! Why not? Ah, you've quarrelled with Eleanor!"
"No, indeed," said he; "I've no quarrel with her as yet."
"What is it, John?" said she, looking at him with an anxious, loving
face, for she knew well how much of his heart was there in that house
which he said he could no longer enter.
"Why," said he at last, "I've taken up the case of these twelve
old men of Hiram's Hospital, and of course that brings me into
contact with Mr Harding. I may have to oppose him, interfere with
him,--perhaps injure him."
Mary looked at him steadily for some time before she committed
herself to reply, and then merely asked him what he meant to do
for the old men.
"Why, it's a long story, and I don't know that I can make you
understand it. John Hiram made a will, and left his property in
charity for certain poor old men, and the proceeds, instead of going
to the benefit of these men, go chiefly into the pocket of the warden
and the bishop's steward."
"And you mean to take away from Mr Harding his share of it?"
"I don't know what I mean yet. I mean to inquire about it. I mean to
see who is entitled to this property. I mean to see, if I can, that
justice be done to the poor of the city of Barchester generally, who
are, in fact, the legatees under the will. I mean, in short, to put
the matter right, if I can."
"And why are you to do this, John?"
"You might ask the same question of anybody else," said he; "and
according to that the duty of righting these poor men would belong to
nobody. If we are to act on that principle, the weak are never to be
protected, injustice is never to be opposed, and no one is to struggle
for the poor!" And Bold began to comfort himself in the warmth of his
"But is there no one to do this but you, who have known Mr Harding so
long? Surely, John, as a friend, as a young friend, so much younger
than Mr Harding--"
"That's woman's logic, all over, Mary. What has age to do with it?
Another man might plead that he was too old; and as to his friendship,
if the thing itself be right, private motives should never be allowed
to interfere. Because I esteem Mr Harding, is that a reason that I
should neglect a duty which I owe to these old men? or should I give
up a work which my conscience tells me is a good one, because I regret
the loss of his society?"
"And Eleanor, John?" said the sister, looking timidly into her
"Eleanor, that is, Miss Harding, if she thinks fit,--that is, if
her father--or, rather, if she--or, indeed, he,--if they find it
necessary--but there is no necessity now to talk about Eleanor
Harding; but this I will say, that if she has the kind of spirit for
which I give her credit, she will not condemn me for doing what I
think to be a duty." And Bold consoled himself with the consolation
of a Roman.
Mary sat silent for a while, till at last her brother reminded her
that the notes must be answered, and she got up, and placed her desk
before her, took out her pen and paper, wrote on it slowly:
MY DEAR ELEANOR,
and then stopped, and looked at her brother.
"Well, Mary, why don't you write it?"
"Oh, John," said she, "dear John, pray think better of this."
"Think better of what?" said he.
"Of this about the hospital,--of all this about Mr Harding,--of what
you say about those old men. Nothing can call upon you,--no duty can
require you to set yourself against your oldest, your best friend.
Oh, John, think of Eleanor. You'll break her heart, and your own."
"Nonsense, Mary; Miss Harding's heart is as safe as yours."
"Pray, pray, for my sake, John, give it up. You know how dearly you
love her." And she came and knelt before him on the rug. "Pray
give it up. You are going to make yourself, and her, and her father
miserable: you are going to make us all miserable. And for what? For
a dream of justice. You will never make those twelve men happier than
they now are."
"You don't understand it, my dear girl," said he, smoothing her hair
with his hand.
"I do understand it, John. I understand that this is a chimera,--a
dream that you have got. I know well that no duty can require you to
do this mad--this suicidal thing. I know you love Eleanor Harding
with all your heart, and I tell you now that she loves you as well.
If there was a plain, a positive duty before you, I would be the last
to bid you neglect it for any woman's love; but this--; oh, think
again, before you do anything to make it necessary that you and Mr
Harding should be at variance." He did not answer, as she knelt
there, leaning on his knees, but by his face she thought that he was
inclined to yield. "At any rate let me say that you will go to this
party. At any rate do not break with them while your mind is in
doubt." And she got up, hoping to conclude her note in the way she
"My mind is not in doubt," at last he said, rising. "I could never
respect myself again were I to give way now, because Eleanor Harding
is beautiful. I do love her: I would give a hand to hear her tell
me what you have said, speaking on her behalf; but I cannot for her
sake go back from the task which I have commenced. I hope she may
hereafter acknowledge and respect my motives, but I cannot now go as
a guest to her father's house." And the Barchester Brutus went out
to fortify his own resolution by meditations on his own virtue.
Poor Mary Bold sat down, and sadly finished her note, saying that she
would herself attend the party, but that her brother was unavoidably
prevented from doing so. I fear that she did not admire as she should
have done the self-devotion of his singular virtue.
The party went off as such parties do. There were fat old ladies, in
fine silk dresses, and slim young ladies, in gauzy muslin frocks; old
gentlemen stood up with their backs to the empty fire-place, looking
by no means so comfortable as they would have done in their own
arm-chairs at home; and young gentlemen, rather stiff about the neck,
clustered near the door, not as yet sufficiently in courage to attack
the muslin frocks, who awaited the battle, drawn up in a semicircular
array. The warden endeavoured to induce a charge, but failed
signally, not having the tact of a general; his daughter did what she
could to comfort the forces under her command, who took in refreshing
rations of cake and tea, and patiently looked for the coming
engagement: but she herself, Eleanor, had no spirit for the work; the
only enemy whose lance she cared to encounter was not there, and she
and others were somewhat dull.
Loud above all voices was heard the clear sonorous tones of the
archdeacon as he dilated to brother parsons of the danger of the
church, of the fearful rumours of mad reforms even at Oxford, and of
the damnable heresies of Dr Whiston.
Soon, however, sweeter sounds began timidly to make themselves
audible. Little movements were made in a quarter notable for round
stools and music stands. Wax candles were arranged in sconces, big
books were brought from hidden recesses, and the work of the evening
How often were those pegs twisted and re-twisted before our friend
found that he had twisted them enough; how many discordant scrapes
gave promise of the coming harmony. How much the muslin fluttered
and crumpled before Eleanor and another nymph were duly seated at the
piano; how closely did that tall Apollo pack himself against the wall,
with his flute, long as himself, extending high over the heads of his
pretty neighbours; into how small a corner crept that round and florid
little minor canon, and there with skill amazing found room to tune
his accustomed fiddle!
And now the crash begins: away they go in full flow of harmony
together,--up hill and down dale,--now louder and louder, then
lower and lower; now loud, as though stirring the battle; then low,
as though mourning the slain. In all, through all, and above all,
is heard the violoncello. Ah, not for nothing were those pegs so
twisted and re-twisted;--listen, listen! Now alone that saddest
of instruments tells its touching tale. Silent, and in awe, stand
fiddle, flute, and piano, to hear the sorrows of their wailing
brother. 'Tis but for a moment: before the melancholy of those low
notes has been fully realised, again comes the full force of all the
band;--down go the pedals, away rush twenty fingers scouring over the
bass notes with all the impetus of passion. Apollo blows till his
stiff neckcloth is no better than a rope, and the minor canon works
with both arms till he falls in a syncope of exhaustion against the
How comes it that now, when all should be silent, when courtesy, if
not taste, should make men listen,--how is it at this moment the
black-coated corps leave their retreat and begin skirmishing? One by
one they creep forth, and fire off little guns timidly, and without
precision. Ah, my men, efforts such as these will take no cities,
even though the enemy should be never so open to assault. At length a
more deadly artillery is brought to bear; slowly, but with effect, the
advance is made; the muslin ranks are broken, and fall into confusion;
the formidable array of chairs gives way; the battle is no longer
between opposing regiments, but hand to hand, and foot to foot with
single combatants, as in the glorious days of old, when fighting was
really noble. In corners, and under the shadow of curtains, behind
sofas and half hidden by doors, in retiring windows, and sheltered
by hanging tapestry, are blows given and returned, fatal, incurable,
Apart from this another combat arises, more sober and more serious.
The archdeacon is engaged against two prebendaries, a pursy full-blown
rector assisting him, in all the perils and all the enjoyments of
short whist. With solemn energy do they watch the shuffled pack, and,
all-expectant, eye the coming trump. With what anxious nicety do they
arrange their cards, jealous of each other's eyes! Why is that lean
doctor so slow,--cadaverous man with hollow jaw and sunken eye, ill
beseeming the richness of his mother church! Ah, why so slow, thou
meagre doctor? See how the archdeacon, speechless in his agony,
deposits on the board his cards, and looks to heaven or to the ceiling
for support. Hark, how he sighs, as with thumbs in his waistcoat
pocket he seems to signify that the end of such torment is not yet
even nigh at hand! Vain is the hope, if hope there be, to disturb
that meagre doctor. With care precise he places every card,
weighs well the value of each mighty ace, each guarded king, and
comfort-giving queen; speculates on knave and ten, counts all his
suits, and sets his price upon the whole. At length a card is led,
and quick three others fall upon the board. The little doctor leads
again, while with lustrous eye his partner absorbs the trick. Now
thrice has this been done,--thrice has constant fortune favoured
the brace of prebendaries, ere the archdeacon rouses himself to the
battle; but at the fourth assault he pins to the earth a prostrate
king, laying low his crown and sceptre, bushy beard, and lowering
brow, with a poor deuce.
"As David did Goliath," says the archdeacon, pushing over the four
cards to his partner. And then a trump is led, then another trump;
then a king,--and then an ace,--and then a long ten, which brings
down from the meagre doctor his only remaining tower of strength--his
cherished queen of trumps.
"What, no second club?" says the archdeacon to his partner.
"Only one club," mutters from his inmost stomach the pursy rector, who
sits there red-faced, silent, impervious, careful, a safe but not a
But the archdeacon cares not for many clubs, or for none. He dashes
out his remaining cards with a speed most annoying to his antagonists,
pushes over to them some four cards as their allotted portion, shoves
the remainder across the table to the red-faced rector; calls out "two
by cards and two by honours, and the odd trick last time," marks a
treble under the candle-stick, and has dealt round the second pack
before the meagre doctor has calculated his losses.
And so went off the warden's party, and men and women arranging shawls
and shoes declared how pleasant it had been; and Mrs Goodenough, the
red-faced rector's wife, pressing the warden's hand, declared she had
never enjoyed herself better; which showed how little pleasure she
allowed herself in this world, as she had sat the whole evening
through in the same chair without occupation, not speaking, and
unspoken to. And Matilda Johnson, when she allowed young Dickson of
the bank to fasten her cloak round her neck, thought that two hundred
pounds a year and a little cottage would really do for happiness;
besides, he was sure to be manager some day. And Apollo, folding his
flute into his pocket, felt that he had acquitted himself with honour;
and the archdeacon pleasantly jingled his gains; but the meagre doctor
went off without much audible speech, muttering ever and anon as he
went, "three and thirty points!" "three and thirty points!"
And so they all were gone, and Mr Harding was left alone with his
What had passed between Eleanor Harding and Mary Bold need not
be told. It is indeed a matter of thankfulness that neither the
historian nor the novelist hears all that is said by their heroes
or heroines, or how would three volumes or twenty suffice! In the
present case so little of this sort have I overheard, that I live
in hopes of finishing my work within 300 pages, and of completing
that pleasant task--a novel in one volume; but something had passed
between them, and as the warden blew out the wax candles, and put his
instrument into its case, his daughter stood sad and thoughtful by the
empty fire-place, determined to speak to her father, but irresolute as
to what she would say.
"Well, Eleanor," said he, "are you for bed?"
"Yes," said she, moving, "I suppose so; but papa--Mr Bold was not here
tonight; do you know why not?"
"He was asked; I wrote to him myself," said the warden.
"But do you know why he did not come, papa?"
"Well, Eleanor, I could guess; but it's no use guessing at such
things, my dear. What makes you look so earnest about it?"
"Oh, papa, do tell me," she exclaimed, throwing her arms round him,
and looking into his face; "what is it he is going to do? What is it
all about? Is there any--any--any--" she didn't well know what word
to use--"any danger?"
"Danger, my dear, what sort of danger?"
"Danger to you, danger of trouble, and of loss, and of--Oh, papa, why
haven't you told me of all this before?"
Mr Harding was not the man to judge harshly of anyone, much less of
the daughter whom he now loved better than any living creature; but
still he did judge her wrongly at this moment. He knew that she loved
John Bold; he fully sympathised in her affection; day after day he
thought more of the matter, and, with the tender care of a loving
father, tried to arrange in his own mind how matters might be so
managed that his daughter's heart should not be made the sacrifice to
the dispute which was likely to exist between him and Bold. Now, when
she spoke to him for the first time on the subject, it was natural
that he should think more of her than of himself, and that he should
imagine that her own cares, and not his, were troubling her.
He stood silent before her awhile, as she gazed up into his face, and
then kissing her forehead he placed her on the sofa.
"Tell me, Nelly," he said (he only called her Nelly in his kindest,
softest, sweetest moods, and yet all his moods were kind and sweet),
"tell me, Nelly, do you like Mr Bold--much?"
She was quite taken aback by the question. I will not say that she
had forgotten herself, and her own love in thinking about John Bold,
and while conversing with Mary: she certainly had not done so. She
had been sick at heart to think that a man of whom she could not but
own to herself that she loved him, of whose regard she had been so
proud, that such a man should turn against her father to ruin him.
She had felt her vanity hurt, that his affection for her had not kept
him from such a course; had he really cared for her, he would not have
risked her love by such an outrage. But her main fear had been for
her father, and when she spoke of danger, it was of danger to him and
not to herself.
She was taken aback by the question altogether: "Do I like him, papa?"
"Yes, Nelly, do you like him? Why shouldn't you like him? but that's
a poor word;--do you love him?" She sat still in his arms without
answering him. She certainly had not prepared herself for an avowal
of affection, intending, as she had done, to abuse John Bold herself,
and to hear her father do so also. "Come, my love," said he, "let us
make a clean breast of it: do you tell me what concerns yourself, and
I will tell you what concerns me and the hospital."
And then, without waiting for an answer, he described to her, as he
best could, the accusation that was made about Hiram's will; the
claims which the old men put forward; what he considered the strength
and what the weakness of his own position; the course which Bold had
taken, and that which he presumed he was about to take; and then
by degrees, without further question, he presumed on the fact of
Eleanor's love, and spoke of that love as a feeling which he could in
no way disapprove: he apologised for Bold, excused what he was doing;
nay, praised him for his energy and intentions; made much of his good
qualities, and harped on none of his foibles; then, reminding his
daughter how late it was, and comforting her with much assurance which
he hardly felt himself, he sent her to her room, with flowing eyes and
a full heart.
When Mr Harding met his daughter at breakfast the next morning, there
was no further discussion on the matter, nor was the subject mentioned
between them for some days. Soon after the party Mary Bold called at
the hospital, but there were various persons in the drawing-room at
the time, and she therefore said nothing about her brother. On the
day following, John Bold met Miss Harding in one of the quiet, sombre,
shaded walks of the close. He was most anxious to see her, but
unwilling to call at the warden's house, and had in truth waylaid her
in her private haunts.
"My sister tells me," said he, abruptly hurrying on with his
premeditated speech, "my sister tells me that you had a delightful
party the other evening. I was so sorry I could not be there."
"We were all sorry," said Eleanor, with dignified composure.
"I believe, Miss Harding, you understand why, at this moment--" And
Bold hesitated, muttered, stopped, commenced his explanation again,
and again broke down.
Eleanor would not help him in the least.
"I think my sister explained to you, Miss Harding?"
"Pray don't apologise, Mr Bold; my father will, I am sure, always be
glad to see you, if you like to come to the house now as formerly;
nothing has occurred to alter his feelings: of your own views you are,
of course, the best judge."
"Your father is all that is kind and generous; he always was so; but
you, Miss Harding, yourself--I hope you will not judge me harshly,
"Mr Bold," said she, "you may be sure of one thing; I shall always
judge my father to be right, and those who oppose him I shall judge
to be wrong. If those who do not know him oppose him, I shall have
charity enough to believe that they are wrong, through error of
judgment; but should I see him attacked by those who ought to know
him, and to love him, and revere him, of such I shall be constrained
to form a different opinion." And then curtseying low she sailed on,
leaving her lover in anything but a happy state of mind.
Though Eleanor Harding rode off from John Bold on a high horse, it
must not be supposed that her heart was so elate as her demeanour.
In the first place, she had a natural repugnance to losing her
lover; and in the next, she was not quite so sure that she was in
the right as she pretended to be. Her father had told her, and that
now repeatedly, that Bold was doing nothing unjust or ungenerous;
and why then should she rebuke him, and throw him off, when she felt
herself so ill able to bear his loss?--but such is human nature, and
As she walked off from him beneath the shady elms of the close, her
look, her tone, every motion and gesture of her body, belied her
heart; she would have given the world to have taken him by the hand,
to have reasoned with him, persuaded him, cajoled him, coaxed him out
of his project; to have overcome him with all her female artillery,
and to have redeemed her father at the cost of herself; but pride
would not let her do this, and she left him without a look of love or
a word of kindness.
Had Bold been judging of another lover and of another lady, he might
have understood all this as well as we do; but in matters of love men
do not see clearly in their own affairs. They say that faint heart
never won fair lady; and it is amazing to me how fair ladies are
won, so faint are often men's hearts! Were it not for the kindness
of their nature, that seeing the weakness of our courage they will
occasionally descend from their impregnable fortresses, and themselves
aid us in effecting their own defeat, too often would they escape
unconquered if not unscathed, and free of body if not of heart.
Poor Bold crept off quite crestfallen; he felt that as regarded
Eleanor Harding his fate was sealed, unless he could consent to give
up a task to which he had pledged himself, and which indeed it would
not be easy for him to give up. Lawyers were engaged, and the
question had to a certain extent been taken up by the public; besides,
how could a high-spirited girl like Eleanor Harding really learn to
love a man for neglecting a duty which he assumed! Could she allow
her affection to be purchased at the cost of his own self-respect?
As regarded the issue of his attempt at reformation in the hospital,
Bold had no reason hitherto to be discontented with his success.
All Barchester was by the ears about it. The bishop, the archdeacon,
the warden, the steward, and several other clerical allies, had daily
meetings, discussing their tactics, and preparing for the great
attack. Sir Abraham Haphazard had been consulted, but his opinion was
not yet received: copies of Hiram's will, copies of wardens' journals,
copies of leases, copies of accounts, copies of everything that could
be copied, and of some that could not, had been sent to him; and the
case was assuming most creditable dimensions. But, above all, it had
been mentioned in the daily "Jupiter". That all-powerful organ of
the press in one of its leading thunderbolts launched at St Cross, had
thus remarked: "Another case, of smaller dimensions indeed, but of
similar import, is now likely to come under public notice. We are
informed that the warden or master of an old almshouse attached to
Barchester Cathedral is in receipt of twenty-five times the annual
income appointed for him by the will of the founder, while the sum
yearly expended on the absolute purposes of the charity has always
remained fixed. In other words, the legatees under the founder's
will have received no advantage from the increase in the value of the
property during the last four centuries, such increase having been
absorbed by the so-called warden. It is impossible to conceive a
case of greater injustice. It is no answer to say that some six or
nine or twelve old men receive as much of the goods of this world
as such old men require. On what foundation, moral or divine,
traditional or legal, is grounded the warden's claim to the large
income he receives for doing nothing? The contentment of these
almsmen, if content they be, can give him no title to this wealth!
Does he ever ask himself, when he stretches wide his clerical palm to
receive the pay of some dozen of the working clergy, for what service
he is so remunerated? Does his conscience ever entertain the question
of his right to such subsidies? Or is it possible that the subject
never so presents itself to his mind; that he has received for many
years, and intends, should God spare him, to receive for years to come
these fruits of the industrious piety of past ages, indifferent as to
any right on his own part, or of any injustice to others! We must
express an opinion that nowhere but in the Church of England, and only
there among its priests, could such a state of moral indifference be
I must for the present leave my readers to imagine the state of Mr
Harding's mind after reading the above article. They say that forty
thousand copies of "The Jupiter" are daily sold, and that each copy is
read by five persons at the least. Two hundred thousand readers then
would hear this accusation against him; two hundred thousand hearts
would swell with indignation at the griping injustice, the barefaced
robbery of the warden of Barchester Hospital! And how was he to
answer this? How was he to open his inmost heart to this multitude,
to these thousands, the educated, the polished, the picked men of his
own country; how show them that he was no robber, no avaricious, lazy
priest scrambling for gold, but a retiring, humble-spirited man, who
had innocently taken what had innocently been offered to him?
"Write to "The Jupiter"," suggested the bishop.
"Yes," said the archdeacon, more worldly wise than his father, "yes,
and be smothered with ridicule; tossed over and over again with
scorn; shaken this way and that, as a rat in the mouth of a practised
terrier. You will leave out some word or letter in your answer, and
the ignorance of the cathedral clergy will be harped upon; you will
make some small mistake, which will be a falsehood, or some admission,
which will be self-condemnation; you will find yourself to have been
vulgar, ill-tempered, irreverend, and illiterate, and the chances are
ten to one, but that being a clergyman, you will have been guilty of
blasphemy! A man may have the best of causes, the best of talents,
and the best of tempers; he may write as well as Addison, or as
strongly as Junius; but even with all this he cannot successfully
answer, when attacked by "The Jupiter". In such matters it is
omnipotent. What the Czar is in Russia, or the mob in America, that
"The Jupiter" is in England. Answer such an article! No, warden;
whatever you do, don't do that. We were to look for this sort of
thing, you know; but we need not draw down on our heads more of it
than is necessary."
The article in "The Jupiter", while it so greatly harassed our poor
warden, was an immense triumph to some of the opposite party. Sorry
as Bold was to see Mr Harding attacked so personally, it still gave
him a feeling of elation to find his cause taken up by so powerful
an advocate: and as to Finney, the attorney, he was beside himself.
What! to be engaged in the same cause and on the same side with
"The Jupiter"; to have the views he had recommended seconded, and
furthered, and battled for by "The Jupiter"! Perhaps to have his own
name mentioned as that of the learned gentleman whose efforts had
been so successful on behalf of the poor of Barchester! He might be
examined before committees of the House of Commons, with heaven knows
how much a day for his personal expenses;--he might be engaged for
years on such a suit! There was no end to the glorious golden dreams
which this leader in "The Jupiter" produced in the soaring mind of
And the old bedesmen, they also heard of this article, and had a
glimmering, indistinct idea of the marvellous advocate which had now
taken up their cause. Abel Handy limped hither and thither through
the rooms, repeating all that he understood to have been printed,
with some additions of his own which he thought should have been
added. He told them how "The Jupiter" had declared that their warden
was no better than a robber, and that what "The Jupiter" said was
acknowledged by the world to be true. How "The Jupiter" had affirmed
that each one of them--"each one of us, Jonathan Crumple, think of
that!"--had a clear right to a hundred a year; and that if "The
Jupiter" had said so, it was better than a decision of the Lord
Chancellor: and then he carried about the paper, supplied by Mr
Finney, which, though none of them could read it, still afforded in
its very touch and aspect positive corroboration of what was told
them; and Jonathan Crumple pondered deeply over his returning wealth;
and Job Skulpit saw how right he had been in signing the petition, and
said so many scores of times; and Spriggs leered fearfully with his
one eye; and Moody, as he more nearly approached the coming golden
age, hated more deeply than ever those who still kept possession of
what he so coveted. Even Billy Gazy and poor bed-ridden Bell became
active and uneasy, and the great Bunce stood apart with lowering brow,
with deep grief seated in his heart, for he perceived that evil days
It had been decided, the archdeacon advising, that no remonstrance,
explanation, or defence should be addressed from the Barchester
conclave to the editor of "The Jupiter"; but hitherto that was the
only decision to which they had come.
Sir Abraham Haphazard was deeply engaged in preparing a bill for the
mortification of papists, to be called the "Convent Custody Bill,"
the purport of which was to enable any Protestant clergyman over
fifty years of age to search any nun whom he suspected of being in
possession of treasonable papers or Jesuitical symbols; and as there
were to be a hundred and thirty-seven clauses in the bill, each clause
containing a separate thorn for the side of the papist, and as it
was known the bill would be fought inch by inch, by fifty maddened
Irishmen, the due construction and adequate dovetailing of it did
consume much of Sir Abraham's time. The bill had all its desired
effect. Of course it never passed into law; but it so completely
divided the ranks of the Irish members, who had bound themselves
together to force on the ministry a bill for compelling all men to
drink Irish whiskey, and all women to wear Irish poplins, that for
the remainder of the session the Great Poplin and Whiskey League was
Thus it happened that Sir Abraham's opinion was not at once
forthcoming, and the uncertainty, the expectation, and suffering of
the folk of Barchester was maintained at a high pitch.
The reader must now be requested to visit the rectory of Plumstead
Episcopi; and as it is as yet still early morning, to ascend again
with us into the bedroom of the archdeacon. The mistress of the
mansion was at her toilet; on which we will not dwell with profane
eyes, but proceed into a small inner room, where the doctor dressed
and kept his boots and sermons; and here we will take our stand,
premising that the door of the room was so open as to admit of a
conversation between our reverend Adam and his valued Eve.
"It's all your own fault, archdeacon," said the latter. "I told you
from the beginning how it would end, and papa has no one to thank but
"Good gracious, my dear," said the doctor, appearing at the door of
his dressing-room, with his face and head enveloped in the rough towel
which he was violently using; "how can you say so? I am doing my very
"I wish you had never done so much," said the lady, interrupting him.
"If you'd just have let John Bold come and go there, as he and papa
liked, he and Eleanor would have been married by this time, and we
should not have heard one word about all this affair."
"But, my dear--"
"Oh, it's all very well, archdeacon; and of course you're right; I
don't for a moment think you'll ever admit that you could be wrong;
but the fact is, you've brought this young man down upon papa by
huffing him as you have done."
"But, my love--"
"And all because you didn't like John Bold for a brother-in-law.
How is she ever to do better? Papa hasn't got a shilling; and though
Eleanor is well enough, she has not at all a taking style of beauty.
I'm sure I don't know how she's to do better than marry John Bold; or
as well indeed," added the anxious sister, giving the last twist to
her last shoe-string.
Dr Grantly felt keenly the injustice of this attack; but what could he
say? He certainly had huffed John Bold; he certainly had objected to
him as a brother-in-law, and a very few months ago the very idea had
excited his wrath: but now matters were changed; John Bold had shown
his power, and, though he was as odious as ever to the archdeacon,
power is always respected, and the reverend dignitary began to think
that such an alliance might not have been imprudent. Nevertheless,
his motto was still "no surrender;" he would still fight it out;
he believed confidently in Oxford, in the bench of bishops, in Sir
Abraham Haphazard, and in himself; and it was only when alone with
his wife that doubts of defeat ever beset him. He once more tried to
communicate this confidence to Mrs Grantly, and for the twentieth time
began to tell her of Sir Abraham.
"Oh, Sir Abraham!" said she, collecting all her house keys into her
basket before she descended; "Sir Abraham won't get Eleanor a husband;
Sir Abraham won't get papa another income when he has been worreted
out of the hospital. Mark what I tell you, archdeacon: while you and
Sir Abraham are fighting, papa will lose his preferment; and what will
you do then with him and Eleanor on your hands? besides, who's to pay
Sir Abraham? I suppose he won't take the case up for nothing?" And
so the lady descended to family worship among her children and
servants, the pattern of a good and prudent wife.
Dr Grantly was blessed with a happy, thriving family. There were,
first, three boys, now at home from school for the holidays. They
were called, respectively, Charles James, Henry, and Samuel. The two
younger (there were five in all) were girls; the elder, Florinda, bore
the name of the Archbishop of York's wife, whose godchild she was:
and the younger had been christened Grizzel, after a sister of the
Archbishop of Canterbury. The boys were all clever, and gave good
promise of being well able to meet the cares and trials of the world;
and yet they were not alike in their dispositions, and each had his
individual character, and each his separate admirers among the
Charles James was an exact and careful boy; he never committed
himself; he well knew how much was expected from the eldest son of the
Archdeacon of Barchester, and was therefore mindful not to mix too
freely with other boys. He had not the great talents of his younger
brothers, but he exceeded them in judgment and propriety of demeanour;
his fault, if he had one, was an over-attention to words instead of
things; there was a thought too much finesse about him, and, as even
his father sometimes told him, he was too fond of a compromise.
The second was the archdeacon's favourite son, and Henry was indeed a
brilliant boy. The versatility of his genius was surprising, and the
visitors at Plumstead Episcopi were often amazed at the marvellous
manner in which he would, when called on, adapt his capacity to
apparently most uncongenial pursuits. He appeared once before a large
circle as Luther the reformer, and delighted them with the perfect
manner in which he assumed the character; and within three days he
again astonished them by acting the part of a Capuchin friar to the
very life. For this last exploit his father gave him a golden guinea,
and his brothers said the reward had been promised beforehand in the
event of the performance being successful. He was also sent on a tour
into Devonshire; a treat which the lad was most anxious of enjoying.
His father's friends there, however, did not appreciate his talents,
and sad accounts were sent home of the perversity of his nature. He
was a most courageous lad, game to the backbone.
It was soon known, both at home, where he lived, and within some miles
of Barchester Cathedral, and also at Westminster, where he was at
school, that young Henry could box well and would never own himself
beat; other boys would fight while they had a leg to stand on, but he
would fight with no leg at all. Those backing him would sometimes
think him crushed by the weight of blows and faint with loss of blood,
and his friends would endeavour to withdraw him from the contest; but
no, Henry never gave in, was never weary of the battle. The ring was
the only element in which he seemed to enjoy himself; and while other
boys were happy in the number of their friends, he rejoiced most in
the multitude of his foes.
His relations could not but admire his pluck, but they sometimes were
forced to regret that he was inclined to be a bully; and those not
so partial to him as his father was, observed with pain that, though
he could fawn to the masters and the archdeacon's friends, he was
imperious and masterful to the servants and the poor.
But perhaps Samuel was the general favourite; and dear little Soapy,
as he was familiarly called, was as engaging a child as ever fond
mother petted. He was soft and gentle in his manners, and attractive
in his speech; the tone of his voice was melody, and every action was
a grace; unlike his brothers, he was courteous to all, he was affable
to the lowly, and meek even to the very scullery-maid. He was a boy
of great promise, minding his books and delighting the hearts of his
masters. His brothers, however, were not particularly fond of him;
they would complain to their mother that Soapy's civility all meant
something; they thought that his voice was too often listened to at
Plumstead Episcopi, and evidently feared that, as he grew up, he
would have more weight in the house than either of them; there was,
therefore, a sort of agreement among them to put young Soapy down.
This, however, was not so easy to be done; Samuel, though young, was
sharp; he could not assume the stiff decorum of Charles James, nor
could he fight like Henry; but he was a perfect master of his own
weapons, and contrived, in the teeth of both of them, to hold the
place which he had assumed. Henry declared that he was a false,
cunning creature; and Charles James, though he always spoke of him as
his dear brother Samuel, was not slow to say a word against him when
opportunity offered. To speak the truth, Samuel was a cunning boy,
and those even who loved him best could not but own that for one so
young, he was too adroit in choosing his words, and too skilled in
modulating his voice.
The two little girls Florinda and Grizzel were nice little girls
enough, but they did not possess the strong sterling qualities of
their brothers; their voices were not often heard at Plumstead
Episcopi; they were bashful and timid by nature, slow to speak before
company even when asked to do so; and though they looked very nice in
their clean white muslin frocks and pink sashes, they were but little
noticed by the archdeacon's visitors.
Whatever of submissive humility may have appeared in the gait and
visage of the archdeacon during his colloquy with his wife in the
sanctum of their dressing-rooms was dispelled as he entered his
breakfast-parlour with erect head and powerful step. In the presence
of a third person he assumed the lord and master; and that wise and
talented lady too well knew the man to whom her lot for life was
bound, to stretch her authority beyond the point at which it would be
borne. Strangers at Plumstead Episcopi, when they saw the imperious
brow with which he commanded silence from the large circle of
visitors, children, and servants who came together in the morning to
hear him read the word of God, and watched how meekly that wife seated
herself behind her basket of keys with a little girl on each side,
as she caught that commanding glance; strangers, I say, seeing this,
could little guess that some fifteen minutes since she had stoutly
held her ground against him, hardly allowing him to open his mouth in
his own defence. But such is the tact and talent of women!
And now let us observe the well-furnished breakfast-parlour at
Plumstead Episcopi, and the comfortable air of all the belongings of
the rectory. Comfortable they certainly were, but neither gorgeous
nor even grand; indeed, considering the money that had been spent
there, the eye and taste might have been better served; there was an
air of heaviness about the rooms which might have been avoided without
any sacrifice of propriety; colours might have been better chosen and
lights more perfectly diffused; but perhaps in doing so the thorough
clerical aspect of the whole might have been somewhat marred; at any
rate, it was not without ample consideration that those thick, dark,
costly carpets were put down; those embossed, but sombre papers hung
up; those heavy curtains draped so as to half exclude the light of
the sun: nor were these old-fashioned chairs, bought at a price far
exceeding that now given for more modern goods, without a purpose.
The breakfast-service on the table was equally costly and equally
plain; the apparent object had been to spend money without obtaining
brilliancy or splendour. The urn was of thick and solid silver, as
were also the tea-pot, coffee-pot, cream-ewer, and sugar-bowl; the
cups were old, dim dragon china, worth about a pound a piece, but very
despicable in the eyes of the uninitiated. The silver forks were so
heavy as to be disagreeable to the hand, and the bread-basket was of a
weight really formidable to any but robust persons. The tea consumed
was the very best, the coffee the very blackest, the cream the
very thickest; there was dry toast and buttered toast, muffins and
crumpets; hot bread and cold bread, white bread and brown bread,
home-made bread and bakers' bread, wheaten bread and oaten bread; and
if there be other breads than these, they were there; there were eggs
in napkins, and crispy bits of bacon under silver covers; and there
were little fishes in a little box, and devilled kidneys frizzling on
a hot-water dish; which, by the bye, were placed closely contiguous to
the plate of the worthy archdeacon himself. Over and above this, on
a snow-white napkin, spread upon the sideboard, was a huge ham and a
huge sirloin; the latter having laden the dinner table on the previous
evening. Such was the ordinary fare at Plumstead Episcopi.
And yet I have never found the rectory a pleasant house. The
fact that man shall not live by bread alone seemed to be somewhat
forgotten; and noble as was the appearance of the host, and sweet and
good-natured as was the face of the hostess, talented as were the
children, and excellent as were the viands and the wines, in spite
of these attractions, I generally found the rectory somewhat dull.
After breakfast the archdeacon would retire, of course to his clerical
pursuits. Mrs Grantly, I presume, inspected her kitchen, though she
had a first-rate housekeeper, with sixty pounds a year; and attended
to the lessons of Florinda and Grizzel, though she had an excellent
governess with thirty pounds a year: but at any rate she disappeared:
and I never could make companions of the boys. Charles James, though
he always looked as though there was something in him, never seemed to
have much to say; and what he did say he would always unsay the next
minute. He told me once that he considered cricket, on the whole, to
be a gentleman-like game for boys, provided they would play without
running about; and that fives, also, was a seemly game, so that those
who played it never heated themselves. Henry once quarrelled with me
for taking his sister Grizzel's part in a contest between them as to
the best mode of using a watering-pot for the garden flowers; and from
that day to this he has not spoken to me, though he speaks at me often
enough. For half an hour or so I certainly did like Sammy's gentle
speeches; but one gets tired of honey, and I found that he preferred
the more admiring listeners whom he met in the kitchen-garden and back
precincts of the establishment; besides, I think I once caught Sammy
On the whole, therefore, I found the rectory a dull house, though it
must be admitted that everything there was of the very best.
After breakfast, on the morning of which we are writing, the
archdeacon, as usual, retired to his study, intimating that he was
going to be very busy, but that he would see Mr Chadwick if he called.
On entering this sacred room he carefully opened the paper case on
which he was wont to compose his favourite sermons, and spread on it
a fair sheet of paper and one partly written on; he then placed his
inkstand, looked at his pen, and folded his blotting paper; having
done so, he got up again from his seat, stood with his back to the
fire-place, and yawned comfortably, stretching out vastly his huge
arms and opening his burly chest. He then walked across the room and
locked the door; and having so prepared himself, he threw himself into
his easy-chair, took from a secret drawer beneath his table a volume
of Rabelais, and began to amuse himself with the witty mischief of
Panurge; and so passed the archdeacon's morning on that day.
He was left undisturbed at his studies for an hour or two, when a
knock came to the door, and Mr Chadwick was announced. Rabelais
retired into the secret drawer, the easy-chair seemed knowingly to
betake itself off, and when the archdeacon quickly undid his bolt,
he was discovered by the steward working, as usual, for that church
of which he was so useful a pillar. Mr Chadwick had just come from
London, and was, therefore, known to be the bearer of important news.
"We've got Sir Abraham's opinion at last," said Mr Chadwick, as he
"Well, well, well!" exclaimed the archdeacon impatiently.
"Oh, it's as long as my arm," said the other; "it can't be told in a
word, but you can read it;" and he handed him a copy, in heaven knows
how many spun-out folios, of the opinion which the attorney-general
had managed to cram on the back and sides of the case as originally
submitted to him.
"The upshot is," said Chadwick, "that there's a screw loose in their
case, and we had better do nothing. They are proceeding against Mr
Harding and myself, and Sir Abraham holds that, under the wording of
the will, and subsequent arrangements legally sanctioned, Mr Harding
and I are only paid servants. The defendants should have been either
the Corporation of Barchester, or possibly the chapter of your
"W-hoo!" said the archdeacon; "so Master Bold is on the wrong scent,
"That's Sir Abraham's opinion; but any scent almost would be a wrong
scent. Sir Abraham thinks that if they'd taken the corporation, or
the chapter, we could have baffled them. The bishop, he thinks, would
be the surest shot; but even there we could plead that the bishop is
only a visitor, and that he has never made himself a consenting party
to the performance of other duties."
"That's quite clear," said the archdeacon.
"Not quite so clear," said the other. "You see the will says, 'My
lord, the bishop, being graciously pleased to see that due justice
be done.' Now, it may be a question whether, in accepting and
administering the patronage, your father has not accepted also the
other duties assigned. It is doubtful, however; but even if they hit
that nail,--and they are far off from that yet,--the point is so nice,
as Sir Abraham says, that you would force them into fifteen thousand
pounds' cost before they could bring it to an issue! and where's that
sum of money to come from?"
The archdeacon rubbed his hands with delight; he had never doubted the
justice of his case, but he had begun to have some dread of unjust
success on the part of his enemies. It was delightful to him thus to
hear that their cause was surrounded with such rocks and shoals; such
causes of shipwreck unseen by the landsman's eye, but visible enough
to the keen eyes of practical law mariners. How wrong his wife was to
wish that Bold should marry Eleanor! Bold! why, if he should be ass
enough to persevere, he would be a beggar before he knew whom he was
at law with!
"That's excellent, Chadwick;--that's excellent! I told you Sir
Abraham was the man for us;" and he put down on the table the copy of
the opinion, and patted it fondly.
"Don't you let that be seen, though, archdeacon."
"Who?--I!--not for worlds," said the doctor.
"People will talk, you know, archdeacon."
"Of course, of course," said the doctor.
"Because, if that gets abroad, it would teach them how to fight their
"Quite true," said the doctor.
"No one here in Barchester ought to see that but you and I,
"No, no, certainly no one else," said the archdeacon, pleased with the
closeness of the confidence; "no one else shall."
"Mrs Grantly is very interested in the matter, I know," said Mr
Did the archdeacon wink, or did he not? I am inclined to think he did
not quite wink; but that without such, perhaps, unseemly gesture he
communicated to Mr Chadwick, with the corner of his eye, intimation
that, deep as was Mrs Grantly's interest in the matter, it should not
procure for her a perusal of that document; and at the same time he
partly opened the small drawer, above spoken of, deposited the paper
on the volume of Rabelais, and showed to Mr Chadwick the nature of the
key which guarded these hidden treasures. The careful steward then
expressed himself contented. Ah! vain man! he could fasten up his
Rabelais, and other things secret, with all the skill of Bramah or
of Chubb; but where could he fasten up the key which solved these
mechanical mysteries? It is probable to us that the contents of
no drawer in that house were unknown to its mistress, and we think,
moreover, that she was entitled to all such knowledge.
"But," said Mr Chadwick, "we must, of course, tell your father and Mr
Harding so much of Sir Abraham's opinion as will satisfy them that the
matter is doing well."
"Oh, certainly,--yes, of course," said the doctor.
"You had better let them know that Sir Abraham is of opinion that
there is no case at any rate against Mr Harding; and that as the
action is worded at present, it must fall to the ground; they must be
nonsuited, if they carry it on; you had better tell Mr Harding, that
Sir Abraham is clearly of opinion that he is only a servant, and as
such not liable;--or if you like it, I'll see Mr Harding myself."
"Oh, I must see him to-morrow, and my father too, and I'll explain to
them exactly so much;--you won't go before lunch, Mr Chadwick: well,
if you will, you must, for I know your time is precious;" and he shook
hands with the diocesan steward, and bowed him out.
The archdeacon had again recourse to his drawer, and twice read
through the essence of Sir Abraham Haphazard's law-enlightened and
law-bewildered brains. It was very clear that to Sir Abraham, the
justice of the old men's claim or the justice of Mr Harding's defence
were ideas that had never presented themselves. A legal victory
over an opposing party was the service for which Sir Abraham was, as
he imagined, to be paid; and that he, according to his lights, had
diligently laboured to achieve, and with probable hope of success.
Of the intense desire which Mr Harding felt to be assured on fit
authority that he was wronging no man, that he was entitled in true
equity to his income, that he might sleep at night without pangs of
conscience, that he was no robber, no spoiler of the poor; that he and
all the world might be openly convinced that he was not the man which
"The Jupiter" had described him to be; of such longings on the part of
Mr Harding, Sir Abraham was entirely ignorant; nor, indeed, could it
be looked on as part of his business to gratify such desires. Such
was not the system on which his battles were fought, and victories
gained. Success was his object, and he was generally successful.
He conquered his enemies by their weakness rather than by his own
strength, and it had been found almost impossible to make up a case
in which Sir Abraham, as an antagonist, would not find a flaw.
The archdeacon was delighted with the closeness of the reasoning. To
do him justice, it was not a selfish triumph that he desired; he would
personally lose nothing by defeat, or at least what he might lose did
not actuate him; but neither was it love of justice which made him so
anxious, nor even mainly solicitude for his father-in-law. He was
fighting a part of a never-ending battle against a never-conquered
foe--that of the church against its enemies.
He knew Mr Harding could not pay all the expense of these doings: for
these long opinions of Sir Abraham's, these causes to be pleaded,
these speeches to be made, these various courts through which the case
was, he presumed, to be dragged. He knew that he and his father must
at least bear the heavier portion of this tremendous cost; but to do
the archdeacon justice, he did not recoil from this. He was a man
fond of obtaining money, greedy of a large income, but open-handed
enough in expending it, and it was a triumph to him to foresee the
success of this measure, although he might be called on to pay so
dearly for it himself.
On the following morning the archdeacon was with his father betimes,
and a note was sent down to the warden begging his attendance at the
palace. Dr Grantly, as he cogitated on the matter, leaning back in
his brougham as he journeyed into Barchester, felt that it would be
difficult to communicate his own satisfaction either to his father or
his father-in-law. He wanted success on his own side and discomfiture
on that of his enemies. The bishop wanted peace on the subject; a
settled peace if possible, but peace at any rate till the short
remainder of his own days had spun itself out. Mr Harding required
not only success and peace, but he also demanded that he might stand
justified before the world.
The bishop, however, was comparatively easy to deal with; and before
the arrival of the other, the dutiful son had persuaded his father
that all was going on well, and then the warden arrived.
It was Mr Harding's wont, whenever he spent a morning at the palace,
to seat himself immediately at the bishop's elbow, the bishop
occupying a huge arm-chair fitted up with candle-sticks, a reading
table, a drawer, and other paraphernalia, the position of which
chair was never moved, summer or winter; and when, as was usual, the
archdeacon was there also, he confronted the two elders, who thus were
enabled to fight the battle against him together;--and together submit
to defeat, for such was their constant fate.
Our warden now took his accustomed place, having greeted his
son-in-law as he entered, and then affectionately inquired after his
friend's health. There was a gentleness about the bishop to which the
soft womanly affection of Mr Harding particularly endeared itself, and
it was quaint to see how the two mild old priests pressed each other's
hand, and smiled and made little signs of love.
"Sir Abraham's opinion has come at last," began the archdeacon. Mr
Harding had heard so much, and was most anxious to know the result.
"It is quite favourable," said the bishop, pressing his friend's arm.
"I am so glad."
Mr Harding looked at the mighty bearer of the important news for
confirmation of these glad tidings.
"Yes," said the archdeacon; "Sir Abraham has given most minute
attention to the case; indeed, I knew he would;--most minute
attention; and his opinion is,--and as to his opinion on such a
subject being correct, no one who knows Sir Abraham's character can
doubt,--his opinion is, that they hav'n't got a leg to stand on."
"But as how, archdeacon?"
"Why, in the first place:--but you're no lawyer, warden, and I doubt
you won't understand it; the gist of the matter is this:--under
Hiram's will two paid guardians have been selected for the hospital;
the law will say two paid servants, and you and I won't quarrel with
"At any rate I will not if I am one of the servants," said Mr Harding.
"A rose, you know--"
"Yes, yes," said the archdeacon, impatient of poetry at such a time.
"Well, two paid servants, we'll say; one to look after the men, and
the other to look after the money. You and Chadwick are these two
servants, and whether either of you be paid too much, or too little,
more or less in fact than the founder willed, it's as clear as
daylight that no one can fall foul of either of you for receiving an
"That does seem clear," said the bishop, who had winced visibly at the
words servants and stipend, which, however, appeared to have caused no
uneasiness to the archdeacon.
"Quite clear," said he, "and very satisfactory. In point of fact, it
being necessary to select such servants for the use of the hospital,
the pay to be given to them must depend on the rate of pay for such
services, according to their market value at the period in question;
and those who manage the hospital must be the only judges of this."
"And who does manage the hospital?" asked the warden. "Oh, let them
find that out; that's another question: the action is brought against
you and Chadwick; that's your defence, and a perfect and full defence
it is. Now that I think very satisfactory."
"Well," said the bishop, looking inquiringly up into his friend's
face, who sat silent awhile, and apparently not so well satisfied.
"And conclusive," continued the archdeacon; "if they press it to a
jury, which they won't do, no twelve men in England will take five
minutes to decide against them."
"But according to that" said Mr Harding, "I might as well have sixteen
hundred a year as eight, if the managers choose to allot it to me; and
as I am one of the managers, if not the chief manager, myself, that
can hardly be a just arrangement."
"Oh, well; all that's nothing to the question. The question is,
whether this intruding fellow, and a lot of cheating attorneys and
pestilent dissenters, are to interfere with an arrangement which
everyone knows is essentially just and serviceable to the church.
Pray don't let us be splitting hairs, and that amongst ourselves, or
there'll never be an end of the cause or the cost."
Mr Harding again sat silent for a while, during which the bishop once
and again pressed his arm, and looked in his face to see if he could
catch a gleam of a contented and eased mind; but there was no such
gleam, and the poor warden continued playing sad dirges on invisible
stringed instruments in all manner of positions; he was ruminating in
his mind on this opinion of Sir Abraham, looking to it wearily and
earnestly for satisfaction, but finding none. At last he said, "Did
you see the opinion, archdeacon?"
The archdeacon said he had not,--that was to say, he had,--that was,
he had not seen the opinion itself; he had seen what had been called a
copy, but he could not say whether of a whole or part; nor could he
say that what he had seen were the "ipsissima verba" of the great man
himself; but what he had seen contained exactly the decision which he
had announced, and which he again declared to be to his mind extremely
"I should like to see the opinion," said the warden; "that is, a copy
"Well, I suppose you can if you make a point of it; but I don't see
the use myself; of course it is essential that the purport of it
should not be known, and it is therefore unadvisable to multiply
"Why should it not be known?" asked the warden.
"What a question for a man to ask!" said the archdeacon, throwing up
his hands in token of his surprise; "but it is like you:--a child is
not more innocent than you are in matters of business. Can't you see
that if we tell them that no action will lie against you, but that one
may possibly lie against some other person or persons, that we shall
be putting weapons into their hands, and be teaching them how to cut
our own throats?"
The warden again sat silent, and the bishop again looked at him
wistfully. "The only thing we have now to do," continued the
archdeacon, "is to remain quiet, hold our peace, and let them play
their own game as they please."
"We are not to make known then," said the warden, "that we have
consulted the attorney-general, and that we are advised by him that
the founder's will is fully and fairly carried out."
"God bless my soul!" said the archdeacon, "how odd it is that you will
not see that all we are to do is to do nothing: why should we say
anything about the founder's will? We are in possession; and we know
that they are not in a position to put us out; surely that is enough
for the present."
Mr Harding rose from his seat and paced thoughtfully up and down the
library, the bishop the while watching him painfully at every turn,
and the archdeacon continuing to pour forth his convictions that the
affair was in a state to satisfy any prudent mind.
"And "The Jupiter"?" said the warden, stopping suddenly.
"Oh! "The Jupiter"," answered the other. ""The Jupiter" can break no
bones. You must bear with that; there is much, of course, which it
is our bounden duty to bear; it cannot be all roses for us here," and
the archdeacon looked exceedingly moral; "besides, the matter is too
trivial, of too little general interest to be mentioned again in "The
Jupiter", unless we stir up the subject." And the archdeacon again
looked exceedingly knowing and worldly wise.
The warden continued his walk; the hard and stinging words of that
newspaper article, each one of which had thrust a thorn as it were
into his inmost soul, were fresh in his memory; he had read it more
than once, word by word, and what was worse, he fancied it was as well
known to everyone as to himself. Was he to be looked on as the unjust
griping priest he had been there described? Was he to be pointed at
as the consumer of the bread of the poor, and to be allowed no means
of refuting such charges, of clearing his begrimed name, of standing
innocent in the world, as hitherto he had stood? Was he to bear all
this, to receive as usual his now hated income, and be known as one
of those greedy priests who by their rapacity have brought disgrace
on their church? And why? Why should he bear all this? Why should
he die, for he felt that he could not live, under such a weight of
obloquy? As he paced up and down the room he resolved in his misery
and enthusiasm that he could with pleasure, if he were allowed, give
up his place, abandon his pleasant home, leave the hospital, and live
poorly, happily, and with an unsullied name, on the small remainder of
He was a man somewhat shy of speaking of himself, even before those
who knew him best, and whom he loved the most; but at last it burst
forth from him, and with a somewhat jerking eloquence he declared that
he could not, would not, bear this misery any longer.
"If it can be proved," said he at last, "that I have a just and honest
right to this, as God well knows I always deemed I had; if this salary
or stipend be really my due, I am not less anxious than another to
retain it. I have the well-being of my child to look to. I am too
old to miss without some pain the comforts to which I have been used;
and I am, as others are, anxious to prove to the world that I have
been right, and to uphold the place I have held; but I cannot do it
at such a cost as this. I cannot bear this. Could you tell me to do
so?" And he appealed, almost in tears, to the bishop, who had left
his chair, and was now leaning on the warden's arm as he stood on the
further side of the table facing the archdeacon. "Could you tell me
to sit there at ease, indifferent, and satisfied, while such things as
these are said loudly of me in the world?"
The bishop could feel for him and sympathise with him, but he could
not advise him; he could only say, "No, no, you shall be asked to
do nothing that is painful; you shall do just what your heart tells
you to be right; you shall do whatever you think best yourself.
Theophilus, don't advise him, pray don't advise the warden to do
anything which is painful."
But the archdeacon, though he could not sympathise, could advise;
and he saw that the time had come when it behoved him to do so in a
somewhat peremptory manner.
"Why, my lord," he said, speaking to his father;--and when he called
his father "my lord," the good old bishop shook in his shoes, for he
knew that an evil time was coming. "Why, my lord, there are two ways
of giving advice: there is advice that may be good for the present
day; and there is advice that may be good for days to come: now I
cannot bring myself to give the former, if it be incompatible with the
"No, no, no, I suppose not," said the bishop, re-seating himself, and
shading his face with his hands. Mr Harding sat down with his back to
the further wall, playing to himself some air fitted for so calamitous
an occasion, and the archdeacon said out his say standing, with his
back to the empty fire-place.
"It is not to be supposed but that much pain will spring out of this
unnecessarily raised question. We must all have foreseen that, and
the matter has in no wise gone on worse than we expected; but it will
be weak, yes, and wicked also, to abandon the cause and own ourselves
wrong, because the inquiry is painful. It is not only ourselves we
have to look to; to a certain extent the interest of the church is in
our keeping. Should it be found that one after another of those who
hold preferment abandoned it whenever it might be attacked, is it
not plain that such attacks would be renewed till nothing was left
us? and, that if so deserted, the Church of England must fall to
the ground altogether? If this be true of many, it is true of one.
Were you, accused as you now are, to throw up the wardenship, and to
relinquish the preferment which is your property, with the vain object
of proving yourself disinterested, you would fail in that object, you
would inflict a desperate blow on your brother clergymen, you would
encourage every cantankerous dissenter in England to make a similar
charge against some source of clerical revenue, and you would do your
best to dishearten those who are most anxious to defend you and uphold
your position. I can fancy nothing more weak, or more wrong. It is
not that you think that there is any justice in these charges, or that
you doubt your own right to the wardenship: you are convinced of your
own honesty, and yet would yield to them through cowardice."
"Cowardice!" said the bishop, expostulating. Mr Harding sat unmoved,
gazing on his son-in-law.
"Well; would it not be cowardice? Would he not do so because he is
afraid to endure the evil things which will be falsely spoken of him?
Would that not be cowardice? And now let us see the extent of the
evil which you dread. The "Jupiter" publishes an article which a
great many, no doubt, will read; but of those who understand the
subject how many will believe "The Jupiter"? Everyone knows what its
object is: it has taken up the case against Lord Guildford and against
the Dean of Rochester, and that against half a dozen bishops; and does
not everyone know that it would take up any case of the kind, right
or wrong, false or true, with known justice or known injustice, if by
doing so it could further its own views? Does not all the world know
this of "The Jupiter"? Who that really knows you will think the worse
of you for what "The Jupiter" says? And why care for those who do not
know you? I will say nothing of your own comfort, but I do say that
you could not be justified in throwing up, in a fit of passion, for
such it would be, the only maintenance that Eleanor has; and if you
did so, if you really did vacate the wardenship, and submit to ruin,
what would that profit you? If you have no future right to the
income, you have had no past right to it; and the very fact of your
abandoning your position would create a demand for repayment of that
which you have already received and spent."
The poor warden groaned as he sat perfectly still, looking up at the
hard-hearted orator who thus tormented him, and the bishop echoed the
sound faintly from behind his hands; but the archdeacon cared little
for such signs of weakness, and completed his exhortation.
"But let us suppose the office to be left vacant, and that your own
troubles concerning it were over; would that satisfy you? Are your
only aspirations in the matter confined to yourself and family? I
know they are not. I know you are as anxious as any of us for the
church to which we belong; and what a grievous blow would such an act
of apostasy give her! You owe it to the church of which you are a
member and a minister, to bear with this affliction, however severe it
may be: you owe it to my father, who instituted you, to support his
rights: you owe it to those who preceded you to assert the legality
of their position; you owe it to those who are to come after you, to
maintain uninjured for them that which you received uninjured from
others; and you owe to us all the unflinching assistance of perfect
brotherhood in this matter, so that upholding one another we may
support our great cause without blushing and without disgrace."
And so the archdeacon ceased, and stood self-satisfied, watching the
effect of his spoken wisdom.
The warden felt himself, to a certain extent, stifled; he would have
given the world to get himself out into the open air without speaking
to, or noticing those who were in the room with him; but this was
impossible. He could not leave without saying something, and he felt
himself confounded by the archdeacon's eloquence. There was a heavy,
unfeeling, unanswerable truth in what he had said; there was so much
practical, but odious common sense in it, that he neither knew how
to assent or to differ. If it were necessary for him to suffer, he
felt that he could endure without complaint and without cowardice,
providing that he was self-satisfied of the justice of his own cause.
What he could not endure was, that he should be accused by others, and
not acquitted by himself. Doubting, as he had begun to doubt, the
justice of his own position in the hospital, he knew that his own
self-confidence would not be restored because Mr Bold had been in
error as to some legal form; nor could he be satisfied to escape,
because, through some legal fiction, he who received the greatest
benefit from the hospital might be considered only as one of its
The archdeacon's speech had silenced him,--stupefied him,--annihilated
him; anything but satisfied him. With the bishop it fared not much
better. He did not discern clearly how things were, but he saw enough
to know that a battle was to be prepared for; a battle that would
destroy his few remaining comforts, and bring him with sorrow to the
The warden still sat, and still looked at the archdeacon, till his
thoughts fixed themselves wholly on the means of escape from his
present position, and he felt like a bird fascinated by gazing on a
"I hope you agree with me," said the archdeacon at last, breaking the
dread silence; "my lord, I hope you agree with me."
Oh, what a sigh the bishop gave! "My lord, I hope you agree with me,"
again repeated the merciless tyrant.
"Yes, I suppose so," groaned the poor old man, slowly.
"And you, warden?"
Mr Harding was now stirred to action;--he must speak and move, so he
got up and took one turn before he answered.
"Do not press me for an answer just at present; I will do nothing
lightly in the matter, and of whatever I do I will give you and the
bishop notice." And so without another word he took his leave,
escaping quickly through the palace hall, and down the lofty steps;
nor did he breathe freely till he found himself alone under the huge
elms of the silent close. Here he walked long and slowly, thinking
on his case with a troubled air, and trying in vain to confute the
archdeacon's argument. He then went home, resolved to bear it
all,--ignominy, suspense, disgrace, self-doubt, and heart-burning,--
and to do as those would have him, who he still believed were most fit
and most able to counsel him aright.
Mr Harding was a sadder man than he had ever yet been when he returned
to his own house. He had been wretched enough on that well-remembered
morning when he was forced to expose before his son-in-law the
publisher's account for ushering into the world his dear book
of sacred music: when after making such payments as he could do
unassisted, he found that he was a debtor of more than three hundred
pounds; but his sufferings then were as nothing to his present
misery;--then he had done wrong, and he knew it, and was able to
resolve that he would not sin in like manner again; but now he could
make no resolution, and comfort himself by no promises of firmness.
He had been forced to think that his lot had placed him in a false
position, and he was about to maintain that position against the
opinion of the world and against his own convictions.
He had read with pity, amounting almost to horror, the strictures
which had appeared from time to time against the Earl of Guildford as
master of St Cross, and the invectives that had been heaped on rich
diocesan dignitaries and overgrown sinecure pluralists. In judging of
them, he judged leniently; the whole bias of his profession had taught
him to think that they were more sinned against than sinning, and
that the animosity with which they had been pursued was venomous
and unjust; but he had not the less regarded their plight as most
miserable. His hair had stood on end and his flesh had crept as
he read the things which had been written; he had wondered how men
could live under such a load of disgrace; how they could face their
fellow-creatures while their names were bandied about so injuriously
and so publicly;--and now this lot was to be his,--he, that shy,
retiring man, who had so comforted himself in the hidden obscurity of
his lot, who had so enjoyed the unassuming warmth of his own little
corner,--he was now dragged forth into the glaring day, and gibbeted
before ferocious multitudes. He entered his own house a crestfallen,
humiliated man, without a hope of overcoming the wretchedness which
He wandered into the drawing-room where was his daughter; but he could
not speak to her now, so he left it, and went into the book-room.
He was not quick enough to escape Eleanor's glance, or to prevent her
from seeing that he was disturbed; and in a little while she followed
him. She found him seated in his accustomed chair with no book open
before him, no pen ready in his hand, no ill-shapen notes of blotted
music lying before him as was usual, none of those hospital accounts
with which he was so precise and yet so unmethodical: he was doing
nothing, thinking of nothing, looking at nothing; he was merely
"Leave me, Eleanor, my dear," he said; "leave me, my darling, for a
few minutes, for I am busy."
Eleanor saw well how it was, but she did leave him, and glided
silently back to her drawing-room. When he had sat a while, thus
alone and unoccupied, he got up to walk again;--he could make more
of his thoughts walking than sitting, and was creeping out into his
garden, when he met Bunce on the threshold.
"Well, Bunce," said he, in a tone that for him was sharp, "what is it?
do you want me?"
"I was only coming to ask after your reverence," said the old
bedesman, touching his hat; "and to inquire about the news from
London," he added after a pause.
The warden winced, and put his hand to his forehead and felt
"Attorney Finney has been there this morning," continued Bunce, "and
by his looks I guess he is not so well pleased as he once was, and it
has got abroad somehow that the archdeacon has had down great news
from London, and Handy and Moody are both as black as devils. And I
hope," said the man, trying to assume a cheery tone, "that things are
looking up, and that there'll be an end soon to all this stuff which
bothers your reverence so sorely."
"Well, I wish there may be, Bunce."
"But about the news, your reverence?" said the old man, almost
Mr Harding walked on, and shook his head impatiently. Poor Bunce
little knew how he was tormenting his patron.
"If there was anything to cheer you, I should be so glad to know it,"
said he, with a tone of affection which the warden in all his misery
could not resist.
He stopped, and took both the old man's hands in his. "My friend,"
said he, "my dear old friend, there is nothing; there is no news to
cheer me;--God's will be done": and two small hot tears broke away
from his eyes and stole down his furrowed cheeks.
"Then God's will be done," said the other solemnly; "but they told
me that there was good news from London, and I came to wish your
reverence joy; but God's will be done;" and so the warden again walked
on, and the bedesman, looking wistfully after him and receiving no
encouragement to follow, returned sadly to his own abode.
For a couple of hours the warden remained thus in the garden, now
walking, now standing motionless on the turf, and then, as his legs
got weary, sitting unconsciously on the garden seats, and then walking
again. And Eleanor, hidden behind the muslin curtains of the window,
watched him through the trees as he now came in sight, and then again
was concealed by the turnings of the walk; and thus the time passed
away till five, when the warden crept back to the house and prepared
It was but a sorry meal. The demure parlour-maid, as she handed the
dishes and changed the plates, saw that all was not right, and was
more demure than ever: neither father nor daughter could eat, and the
hateful food was soon cleared away, and the bottle of port placed upon
"Would you like Bunce to come in, papa?" said Eleanor, thinking that
the company of the old man might lighten his sorrow.
"No, my dear, thank you, not to-day; but are not you going out,
Eleanor, this lovely afternoon? don't stay in for me, my dear."
"I thought you seemed so sad, papa."
"Sad," said he, irritated; "well, people must all have their share of
sadness here; I am not more exempt than another: but kiss me, dearest,
and go now; I will, if possible, be more sociable when you return."
And Eleanor was again banished from her father's sorrow. Ah! her
desire now was not to find him happy, but to be allowed to share his
sorrows; not to force him to be sociable, but to persuade him to be
She put on her bonnet as desired, and went up to Mary Bold; this was
now her daily haunt, for John Bold was up in London among lawyers and
church reformers, diving deep into other questions than that of the
wardenship of Barchester; supplying information to one member of
Parliament, and dining with another; subscribing to funds for the
abolition of clerical incomes, and seconding at that great national
meeting at the Crown and Anchor a resolution to the effect, that no
clergyman of the Church of England, be he who he might, should have
more than a thousand a year, and none less than two hundred and fifty.
His speech on this occasion was short, for fifteen had to speak, and
the room was hired for two hours only, at the expiration of which
the Quakers and Mr Cobden were to make use of it for an appeal to
the public in aid of the Emperor of Russia; but it was sharp and
effective; at least he was told so by a companion with whom he now
lived much, and on whom he greatly depended,--one Tom Towers, a very
leading genius, and supposed to have high employment on the staff of
So Eleanor, as was now her wont, went up to Mary Bold, and Mary
listened kindly, while the daughter spoke much of her father, and,
perhaps kinder still, found a listener in Eleanor, while she spoke
about her brother. In the meantime the warden sat alone, leaning on
the arm of his chair; he had poured out a glass of wine, but had done
so merely from habit, for he left it untouched; there he sat gazing
at the open window, and thinking, if he can be said to have thought,
of the happiness of his past life. All manner of past delights came
before his mind, which at the time he had enjoyed without considering
them; his easy days, his absence of all kind of hard work, his
pleasant shady home, those twelve old neighbours whose welfare till
now had been the source of so much pleasant care, the excellence
of his children, the friendship of the dear old bishop, the solemn
grandeur of those vaulted aisles, through which he loved to hear his
own voice pealing; and then that friend of friends, that choice ally
that had never deserted him, that eloquent companion that would
always, when asked, discourse such pleasant music, that violoncello
of his;--ah, how happy he had been! but it was over now; his easy
days and absence of work had been the crime which brought on him his
tribulation; his shady home was pleasant no longer; maybe it was no
longer his; the old neighbours, whose welfare had been so desired by
him, were his enemies; his daughter was as wretched as himself; and
even the bishop was made miserable by his position. He could never
again lift up his voice boldly as he had hitherto done among his
brethren, for he felt that he was disgraced; and he feared even to
touch his bow, for he knew how grievous a sound of wailing, how
piteous a lamentation, it would produce.
He was still sitting in the same chair and the same posture, having
hardly moved a limb for two hours, when Eleanor came back to tea, and
succeeded in bringing him with her into the drawing-room.
The tea seemed as comfortless as the dinner, though the warden, who
had hitherto eaten nothing all day, devoured the plateful of bread and
butter, unconscious of what he was doing.
Eleanor had made up her mind to force him to talk to her, but she
hardly knew how to commence: she must wait till the urn was gone, till
the servant would no longer be coming in and out.
At last everything was gone, and the drawing-room door was permanently
closed; then Eleanor, getting up and going round to her father, put
her arm round his neck, and said, "Papa, won't you tell me what it
"What what is, my dear?"
"This new sorrow that torments you; I know you are unhappy, papa."
"New sorrow! it's no new sorrow, my dear; we have all our cares
sometimes;" and he tried to smile, but it was a ghastly failure; "but
I shouldn't be so dull a companion; come, we'll have some music."
"No, papa, not tonight,--it would only trouble you tonight;" and she
sat upon his knee, as she sometimes would in their gayest moods, and
with her arm round his neck, she said: "Papa, I will not leave you
till you talk to me; oh, if you only knew how much good it would do
to you, to tell me of it all."
The father kissed his daughter, and pressed her to his heart; but
still he said nothing: it was so hard to him to speak of his own
sorrows; he was so shy a man even with his own child!
"Oh, papa, do tell me what it is; I know it is about the hospital, and
what they are doing up in London, and what that cruel newspaper has
said; but if there be such cause for sorrow, let us be sorrowful
together; we are all in all to each other now: dear, dear papa, do
speak to me."
Mr Harding could not well speak now, for the warm tears were running
down his cheeks like rain in May, but he held his child close to his
heart, and squeezed her hand as a lover might, and she kissed his
forehead and his wet cheeks, and lay upon his bosom, and comforted him
as a woman only can do.
"My own child," he said, as soon as his tears would let him speak, "my
own, own child, why should you too be unhappy before it is necessary?
It may come to that, that we must leave this place, but till that time
comes, why should your young days be clouded?"
"And is that all, papa? If that be all, let us leave it, and have
light hearts elsewhere: if that be all, let us go. Oh, papa, you and
I could be happy if we had only bread to eat, so long as our hearts
And Eleanor's face was lighted up with enthusiasm as she told her
father how he might banish all his care; and a gleam of joy shot
across his brow as this idea of escape again presented itself, and
he again fancied for a moment that he could spurn away from him the
income which the world envied him; that he could give the lie to that
wielder of the tomahawk who had dared to write such things of him in
"The Jupiter"; that he could leave Sir Abraham, and the archdeacon,
and Bold, and the rest of them with their lawsuit among them, and
wipe his hands altogether of so sorrow-stirring a concern. Ah, what
happiness might there be in the distance, with Eleanor and him in some
small cottage, and nothing left of their former grandeur but their
music! Yes, they would walk forth with their music books, and their
instruments, and shaking the dust from off their feet as they went,
leave the ungrateful place. Never did a poor clergyman sigh for a warm
benefice more anxiously than our warden did now to be rid of his.
"Give it up, papa," she said again, jumping from his knees and
standing on her feet before him, looking boldly into his face; "give
it up, papa."
Oh, it was sad to see how that momentary gleam of joy passed away;
how the look of hope was dispersed from that sorrowful face, as the
remembrance of the archdeacon came back upon our poor warden, and he
reflected that he could not stir from his now hated post. He was as
a man bound with iron, fettered with adamant: he was in no respect a
free agent; he had no choice. "Give it up!" Oh if he only could:
what an easy way that were out of all his troubles!
"Papa, don't doubt about it," she continued, thinking that his
hesitation arose from his unwillingness to abandon so comfortable
a home; "is it on my account that you would stay here? Do you
think that I cannot be happy without a pony-carriage and a fine
drawing-room? Papa, I never can be happy here, as long as there is a
question as to your honour in staying here; but I could be gay as the
day is long in the smallest tiny little cottage, if I could see you
come in and go out with a light heart. Oh! papa, your face tells so
much; though you won't speak to me with your voice, I know how it is
with you every time I look at you."
How he pressed her to his heart again with almost a spasmodic
pressure! How he kissed her as the tears fell like rain from his old
eyes! How he blessed her, and called her by a hundred soft sweet
names which now came new to his lips! How he chid himself for ever
having been unhappy with such a treasure in his house, such a jewel on
his bosom, with so sweet a flower in the choice garden of his heart!
And then the floodgates of his tongue were loosed, and, at length,
with unsparing detail of circumstances, he told her all that he
wished, and all that he could not do. He repeated those arguments
of the archdeacon, not agreeing in their truth, but explaining his
inability to escape from them;--how it had been declared to him that
he was bound to remain where he was by the interests of his order,
by gratitude to the bishop, by the wishes of his friends, by a sense
of duty, which, though he could not understand it, he was fain to
acknowledge. He told her how he had been accused of cowardice, and
though he was not a man to make much of such a charge before the
world, now in the full candour of his heart he explained to her that
such an accusation was grievous to him; that he did think it would be
unmanly to desert his post, merely to escape his present sufferings,
and that, therefore, he must bear as best he might the misery which
was prepared for him.
And did she find these details tedious? Oh, no; she encouraged him
to dilate on every feeling he expressed, till he laid bare the inmost
corners of his heart to her. They spoke together of the archdeacon,
as two children might of a stern, unpopular, but still respected
schoolmaster, and of the bishop as a parent kind as kind could be, but
powerless against an omnipotent pedagogue.
And then when they had discussed all this, when the father had told
all to the child, she could not be less confiding than he had been;
and as John Bold's name was mentioned between them, she owned how well
she had learned to love him,--"had loved him once," she said, "but she
would not, could not do so now--no, even had her troth been plighted
to him, she would have taken it back again;--had she sworn to love
him as his wife, she would have discarded him, and not felt herself
forsworn, when he proved himself the enemy of her father."
But the warden declared that Bold was no enemy of his, and encouraged
her love; and gently rebuked, as he kissed her, the stern resolve she
had made to cast him off; and then he spoke to her of happier days
when their trials would all be over; and declared that her young heart
should not be torn asunder to please either priest or prelate, dean or
archdeacon. No, not if all Oxford were to convocate together, and
agree as to the necessity of the sacrifice.
And so they greatly comforted each other;--and in what sorrow will not
such mutual confidence give consolation!--and with a last expression
of tender love they parted, and went comparatively happy to their
When Eleanor laid her head on her pillow that night, her mind was
anxiously intent on some plan by which she might extricate her father
from his misery; and, in her warm-hearted enthusiasm, self-sacrifice
was decided on as the means to be adopted. Was not so good an
Agamemnon worthy of an Iphigenia? She would herself personally
implore John Bold to desist from his undertaking; she would explain to
him her father's sorrows, the cruel misery of his position; she would
tell him how her father would die if he were thus dragged before the
public and exposed to such unmerited ignominy; she would appeal to his
old friendship, to his generosity, to his manliness, to his mercy; if
need were, she would kneel to him for the favour she would ask; but
before she did this the idea of love must be banished. There must be
no bargain in the matter. To his mercy, to his generosity, she could
appeal; but as a pure maiden, hitherto even unsolicited, she could not
appeal to his love, nor under such circumstances could she allow him
to do so. Of course, when so provoked he would declare his passion;
that was to be expected; there had been enough between them to make
such a fact sure; but it was equally certain that he must be rejected.
She could not be understood as saying, Make my father free and I
am the reward. There would be no sacrifice in that;--not so had
Jephthah's daughter saved her father;--not so could she show to
that kindest, dearest of parents how much she was able to bear for
his good. No; to one resolve must her whole soul be bound; and so
resolving, she felt that she could make her great request to Bold
with as much self-assured confidence as she could have done to his
And now I own I have fears for my heroine; not as to the upshot of her
mission,--not in the least as to that; as to the full success of her
generous scheme, and the ultimate result of such a project, no one
conversant with human nature and novels can have a doubt; but as to
the amount of sympathy she may receive from those of her own sex.
Girls below twenty and old ladies above sixty will do her justice; for
in the female heart the soft springs of sweet romance reopen after
many years, and again gush out with waters pure as in earlier days,
and greatly refresh the path that leads downwards to the grave.
But I fear that the majority of those between these two eras will
not approve of Eleanor's plan. I fear that unmarried ladies of
thirty-five will declare that there can be no probability of so absurd
a project being carried through; that young women on their knees
before their lovers are sure to get kissed, and that they would not
put themselves in such a position did they not expect it; that Eleanor
is going to Bold only because circumstances prevent Bold from coming
to her; that she is certainly a little fool, or a little schemer, but
that in all probability she is thinking a good deal more about herself
than her father.
Dear ladies, you are right as to your appreciation of the
circumstances, but very wrong as to Miss Harding's character. Miss
Harding was much younger than you are, and could not, therefore, know,
as you may do, to what dangers such an encounter might expose her.
She may get kissed; I think it very probable that she will; but I give
my solemn word and positive assurance, that the remotest idea of such
a catastrophe never occurred to her as she made the great resolve now
And then she slept; and then she rose refreshed; and met her father
with her kindest embrace and most loving smiles; and on the whole
their breakfast was by no means so triste as had been their dinner the
day before; and then, making some excuse to her father for so soon
leaving him, she started on the commencement of her operations.
She knew that John Bold was in London, and that, therefore, the scene
itself could not be enacted to-day; but she also knew that he was soon
to be home, probably on the next day, and it was necessary that some
little plan for meeting him should be concerted with his sister Mary.
When she got up to the house, she went, as usual, into the morning
sitting-room, and was startled by perceiving, by a stick, a greatcoat,
and sundry parcels which were lying about, that Bold must already have
"John has come back so suddenly," said Mary, coming into the room; "he
has been travelling all night."
"Then I'll come up again some other time," said Eleanor, about to beat
a retreat in her sudden dismay.
"He's out now, and will be for the next two hours," said the other;
"he's with that horrid Finney; he only came to see him, and he returns
by the mail train tonight."
Returns by the mail train tonight, thought Eleanor to herself, as she
strove to screw up her courage;--away again tonight;--then it must be
now or never; and she again sat down, having risen to go.
She wished the ordeal could have been postponed: she had fully made
up her mind to do the deed, but she had not made up her mind to do it
this very day; and now she felt ill at ease, astray, and in
"Mary," she began, "I must see your brother before he goes back."
"Oh yes, of course," said the other; "I know he'll be delighted to see
you;" and she tried to treat it as a matter of course, but she was not
the less surprised; for Mary and Eleanor had daily talked over John
Bold and his conduct, and his love, and Mary would insist on calling
Eleanor her sister, and would scold her for not calling Bold by his
Christian name; and Eleanor would half confess her love, but like a
modest maiden would protest against such familiarities even with the
name of her lover; and so they talked hour after hour, and Mary Bold,
who was much the elder, looked forward with happy confidence to the
day when Eleanor would not be ashamed to call her her sister. She
was, however, fully sure that just at present Eleanor would be much
more likely to avoid her brother than to seek him.
"Mary, I must see your brother, now, to-day, and beg from him a great
favour;" and she spoke with a solemn air, not at all usual to her;
and then she went on, and opened to her friend all her plan, her
well-weighed scheme for saving her father from a sorrow which would,
she said, if it lasted, bring him to his grave. "But, Mary," she
continued, "you must now, you know, cease any joking about me and Mr
Bold; you must now say no more about that; I am not ashamed to beg
this favour from your brother, but when I have done so, there can
never be anything further between us;" and this she said with a staid
and solemn air, quite worthy of Jephthah's daughter or of Iphigenia
It was quite clear that Mary Bold did not follow the argument. That
Eleanor Harding should appeal, on behalf of her father, to Bold's
better feelings seemed to Mary quite natural; it seemed quite natural
that he should relent, overcome by such filial tears, and by so much
beauty; but, to her thinking, it was at any rate equally natural, that
having relented, John should put his arm round his mistress's waist,
and say: "Now having settled that, let us be man and wife, and all
will end happily!" Why his good nature should not be rewarded, when
such reward would operate to the disadvantage of none, Mary, who had
more sense than romance, could not understand; and she said as much.
Eleanor, however, was firm, and made quite an eloquent speech to
support her own view of the question: she could not condescend, she
said, to ask such a favour on any other terms than those proposed.
Mary might, perhaps, think her high-flown, but she had her own ideas,
and she could not submit to sacrifice her self-respect.
"But I am sure you love him;--don't you?" pleaded Mary; "and I am sure
he loves you better than anything in the world."
Eleanor was going to make another speech, but a tear came to each eye,
and she could not; so she pretended to blow her nose, and walked to
the window, and made a little inward call on her own courage, and
finding herself somewhat sustained, said sententiously: "Mary, this
"But you do love him," said Mary, who had followed her friend to the
window, and now spoke with her arms close wound round the other's
waist. "You do love him with all your heart,--you know you do; I defy
you to deny it."
"I--" commenced Eleanor, turning sharply round to refute the charge;
but the intended falsehood stuck in her throat, and never came to
utterance. She could not deny her love, so she took plentifully
to tears, and leant upon her friend's bosom and sobbed there, and
protested that, love or no love, it would make no difference in her
resolve, and called Mary, a thousand times, the most cruel of girls,
and swore her to secrecy by a hundred oaths, and ended by declaring
that the girl who could betray her friend's love, even to a brother,
would be as black a traitor as a soldier in a garrison who should
open the city gates to the enemy. While they were yet discussing the
matter, Bold returned, and Eleanor was forced into sudden action: she
had either to accomplish or abandon her plan; and having slipped into
her friend's bedroom, as the gentleman closed the hall door, she
washed the marks of tears from her eyes, and resolved within herself
to go through with it. "Tell him I am here," said she, "and coming
in; and mind, whatever you do, don't leave us." So Mary informed her
brother, with a somewhat sombre air, that Miss Harding was in the next
room, and was coming to speak to him.
Eleanor was certainly thinking more of her father than herself, as she
arranged her hair before the glass, and removed the traces of sorrow
from her face; and yet I should be untrue if I said that she was not
anxious to appear well before her lover: why else was she so sedulous
with that stubborn curl that would rebel against her hand, and smooth
so eagerly her ruffled ribands? why else did she damp her eyes to
dispel the redness, and bite her pretty lips to bring back the colour?
Of course she was anxious to look her best, for she was but a mortal
angel after all. But had she been immortal, had she flitted back to
the sitting-room on a cherub's wings, she could not have had a more
faithful heart, or a truer wish to save her father at any cost to
John Bold had not met her since the day when she left him in dudgeon
in the cathedral close. Since then his whole time had been occupied
in promoting the cause against her father, and not unsuccessfully.
He had often thought of her, and turned over in his mind a hundred
schemes for showing her how disinterested was his love. He would
write to her and beseech her not to allow the performance of a public
duty to injure him in her estimation; he would write to Mr Harding,
explain all his views, and boldly claim the warden's daughter, urging
that the untoward circumstances between them need be no bar to their
ancient friendship, or to a closer tie; he would throw himself on his
knees before his mistress; he would wait and marry the daughter when
the father has lost his home and his income; he would give up the
lawsuit and go to Australia, with her of course, leaving "The Jupiter"
and Mr Finney to complete the case between them. Sometimes as he woke
in the morning fevered and impatient, he would blow out his brains and
have done with all his cares;--but this idea was generally consequent
on an imprudent supper enjoyed in company with Tom Towers.
How beautiful Eleanor appeared to him as she slowly walked into the
room! Not for nothing had all those little cares been taken. Though
her sister, the archdeacon's wife, had spoken slightingly of her
charms, Eleanor was very beautiful when seen aright. Hers was not of
those impassive faces, which have the beauty of a marble bust; finely
chiselled features, perfect in every line, true to the rules of
symmetry, as lovely to a stranger as to a friend, unvarying unless in
sickness, or as age affects them. She had no startling brilliancy of
beauty, no pearly whiteness, no radiant carnation. She had not the
majestic contour that rivets attention, demands instant wonder, and
then disappoints by the coldness of its charms. You might pass
Eleanor Harding in the street without notice, but you could hardly
pass an evening with her and not lose your heart.
She had never appeared more lovely to her lover than she now did. Her
face was animated though it was serious, and her full dark lustrous
eyes shone with anxious energy; her hand trembled as she took his, and
she could hardly pronounce his name, when she addressed him. Bold
wished with all his heart that the Australian scheme was in the act of
realisation, and that he and Eleanor were away together, never to hear
further of the lawsuit.
He began to talk, asked after her health,--said something about London
being very stupid, and more about Barchester being very pleasant;
declared the weather to be very hot, and then inquired after Mr
"My father is not very well," said Eleanor.
John Bold was very sorry,--so sorry: he hoped it was nothing serious,
and put on the unmeaningly solemn face which people usually use on
"I especially want to speak to you about my father, Mr Bold; indeed, I
am now here on purpose to do so. Papa is very unhappy, very unhappy
indeed, about this affair of the hospital: you would pity him, Mr
Bold, if you could see how wretched it has made him."
"Oh, Miss Harding!"
"Indeed you would;--anyone would pity him; but a friend, an old friend
as you are,--indeed you would. He is an altered man; his cheerfulness
has all gone, and his sweet temper, and his kind happy tone of voice;
you would hardly know him if you saw him, Mr Bold, he is so much
altered; and--and--if this goes on, he will die." Here Eleanor had
recourse to her handkerchief, and so also had her auditors; but she
plucked up her courage, and went on with her tale. "He will break his
heart, and die. I am sure, Mr Bold, it was not you who wrote those
cruel things in the newspaper--"
John Bold eagerly protested that it was not, but his heart smote him
as to his intimate alliance with Tom Towers.
"No, I am sure it was not; and papa has not for a moment thought so;
you would not be so cruel;--but it has nearly killed him. Papa cannot
bear to think that people should so speak of him, and that everybody
should hear him so spoken of:--they have called him avaricious, and
dishonest, and they say he is robbing the old men, and taking the
money of the hospital for nothing."
"I have never said so, Miss Harding. I--"
"No," continued Eleanor, interrupting him, for she was now in the full
flood-tide of her eloquence; "no, I am sure you have not; but others
have said so; and if this goes on, if such things are written again,
it will kill papa. Oh! Mr Bold, if you only knew the state he is in!
Now papa does not care much about money."
Both her auditors, brother and sister, assented to this, and declared
on their own knowledge that no man lived less addicted to filthy lucre
than the warden.
"Oh! it's so kind of you to say so, Mary, and of you too, Mr Bold.
I couldn't bear that people should think unjustly of papa. Do you
know he would give up the hospital altogether, only he cannot. The
archdeacon says it would be cowardly, and that he would be deserting
his order, and injuring the church. Whatever may happen, papa will
not do that: he would leave the place to-morrow willingly, and give
up his house, and the income and all, if the archdeacon--"
Eleanor was going to say "would let him," but she stopped herself
before she had compromised her father's dignity; and giving a long
sigh, she added--"Oh, I do so wish he would."
"No one who knows Mr Harding personally accuses him for a moment,"
"It is he that has to bear the punishment; it is he that suffers,"
said Eleanor; "and what for? what has he done wrong? how has he
deserved this persecution? he that never had an unkind thought in his
life, he that never said an unkind word!" and here she broke down, and
the violence of her sobs stopped her utterance.
Bold, for the fifth or sixth time, declared that neither he nor any of
his friends imputed any blame personally to Mr Harding.
"Then why should he be persecuted?" ejaculated Eleanor through her
tears, forgetting in her eagerness that her intention had been to
humble herself as a suppliant before John Bold;--"why should he be
singled out for scorn and disgrace? why should he be made so wretched?
Oh! Mr Bold,"--and she turned towards him as though the kneeling scene
were about to be commenced,--"oh! Mr Bold, why did you begin all this?
You, whom we all so--so--valued!"
To speak the truth, the reformer's punishment was certainly come upon
him, for his present plight was not enviable; he had nothing for it
but to excuse himself by platitudes about public duty, which it is
by no means worth while to repeat, and to reiterate his eulogy on Mr
Harding's character. His position was certainly a cruel one: had any
gentleman called upon him on behalf of Mr Harding he could of course
have declined to enter upon the subject; but how could he do so with a
beautiful girl, with the daughter of the man whom he had injured, with
his own love?
In the meantime Eleanor recollected herself, and again summoned up
her energies. "Mr Bold," said she, "I have come here to implore you
to abandon this proceeding." He stood up from his seat, and looked
beyond measure distressed. "To implore you to abandon it, to implore
you to spare my father, to spare either his life or his reason, for
one or the other will pay the forfeit if this goes on. I know how
much I am asking, and how little right I have to ask anything; but
I think you will listen to me as it is for my father. Oh, Mr Bold,
pray, pray do this for us;--pray do not drive to distraction a man who
has loved you so well."
She did not absolutely kneel to him, but she followed him as he moved
from his chair, and laid her soft hands imploringly upon his arm. Ah!
at any other time how exquisitely valuable would have been that touch!
but now he was distraught, dumbfounded, and unmanned. What could he
say to that sweet suppliant; how explain to her that the matter now
was probably beyond his control; how tell her that he could not quell
the storm which he had raised?
"Surely, surely, John, you cannot refuse her," said his sister.
"I would give her my soul," said he, "if it would serve her."
"Oh, Mr Bold," said Eleanor, "do not speak so; I ask nothing for
myself; and what I ask for my father, it cannot harm you to grant."
"I would give her my soul, if it would serve her," said Bold, still
addressing his sister; "everything I have is hers, if she will accept
it; my house, my heart, my all; every hope of my breast is centred in
her; her smiles are sweeter to me than the sun, and when I see her in
sorrow as she now is, every nerve in my body suffers. No man can love
better than I love her."
"No, no, no," ejaculated Eleanor; "there can be no talk of love
between us. Will you protect my father from the evil you have brought
"Oh, Eleanor, I will do anything; let me tell you how I love you!"
"No, no, no!" she almost screamed. "This is unmanly of you, Mr Bold.
Will you, will you, will you leave my father to die in peace in his
quiet home?" and seizing him by his arm and hand, she followed him
across the room towards the door. "I will not leave you till you
promise me; I'll cling to you in the street; I'll kneel to you before
all the people. You shall promise me this, you shall promise me this,
you shall--" And she clung to him with fixed tenacity, and reiterated
her resolve with hysterical passion.
"Speak to her, John; answer her," said Mary, bewildered by the
unexpected vehemence of Eleanor's manner; "you cannot have the cruelty
to refuse her."
"Promise me, promise me," said Eleanor; "say that my father is
safe;--one word will do. I know how true you are; say one word, and I
will let you go."
She still held him, and looked eagerly into his face, with her hair
dishevelled and her eyes all bloodshot. She had no thought now of
herself, no care now for her appearance; and yet he thought he had
never seen her half so lovely; he was amazed at the intensity of her
beauty, and could hardly believe that it was she whom he had dared to
love. "Promise me," said she; "I will not leave you till you have
"I will," said he at length; "I do--all I can do, I will do."
"Then may God Almighty bless you for ever and ever!" said Eleanor; and
falling on her knees with her face in Mary's lap, she wept and sobbed
like a child: her strength had carried her through her allotted task,
but now it was well nigh exhausted.
In a while she was partly recovered, and got up to go, and would have
gone, had not Bold made her understand that it was necessary for him
to explain to her how far it was in his power to put an end to the
proceedings which had been taken against Mr Harding. Had he spoken on
any other subject, she would have vanished, but on that she was bound
to hear him; and now the danger of her position commenced. While she
had an active part to play, while she clung to him as a suppliant, it
was easy enough for her to reject his proffered love, and cast from
her his caressing words; but now--now that he had yielded, and was
talking to her calmly and kindly as to her father's welfare, it was
hard enough for her to do so. Then Mary Bold assisted her; but now
she was quite on her brother's side. Mary said but little, but every
word she did say gave some direct and deadly blow. The first thing
she did was to make room for her brother between herself and Eleanor
on the sofa: as the sofa was full large for three, Eleanor could not
resent this, nor could she show suspicion by taking another seat; but
she felt it to be a most unkind proceeding. And then Mary would talk
as though they three were joined in some close peculiar bond together;
as though they were in future always to wish together, contrive
together, and act together; and Eleanor could not gainsay this; she
could not make another speech, and say, "Mr Bold and I are strangers,
Mary, and are always to remain so!"
He explained to her that, though undoubtedly the proceeding against
the hospital had commenced solely with himself, many others were now
interested in the matter, some of whom were much more influential than
himself; that it was to him alone, however, that the lawyers looked
for instruction as to their doings, and, more important still, for
the payment of their bills; and he promised that he would at once
give them notice that it was his intention to abandon the cause. He
thought, he said, that it was not probable that any active steps would
be taken after he had seceded from the matter, though it was possible
that some passing allusion might still be made to the hospital in the
daily "Jupiter". He promised, however, that he would use his best
influence to prevent any further personal allusion being made to Mr
Harding. He then suggested that he would on that afternoon ride over
himself to Dr Grantly, and inform him of his altered intentions on the
subject, and with this view, he postponed his immediate return to
This was all very pleasant, and Eleanor did enjoy a sort of triumph in
the feeling that she had attained the object for which she had sought
this interview; but still the part of Iphigenia was to be played out.
The gods had heard her prayer, granted her request, and were they not
to have their promised sacrifice? Eleanor was not a girl to defraud
them wilfully; so, as soon as she decently could, she got up for her
"Are you going so soon?" said Bold, who half an hour since would
have given a hundred pounds that he was in London, and she still at
"Oh yes!" said she. "I am so much obliged to you; papa will feel
this to be so kind." She did not quite appreciate all her father's
feelings. "Of course I must tell him, and I will say that you will
see the archdeacon."
"But may I not say one word for myself?" said Bold.
"I'll fetch you your bonnet, Eleanor," said Mary, in the act of
leaving the room.
"Mary, Mary," said she, getting up and catching her by her dress;
"don't go, I'll get my bonnet myself." But Mary, the traitress, stood
fast by the door, and permitted no such retreat. Poor Iphigenia!
And with a volley of impassioned love, John Bold poured forth the
feelings of his heart, swearing, as men do, some truths and many
falsehoods; and Eleanor repeated with every shade of vehemence the
"No, no, no," which had had a short time since so much effect; but
now, alas! its strength was gone. Let her be never so vehement, her
vehemence was not respected; all her "No, no, no's" were met with
counter-asseverations, and at last were overpowered. The ground was
cut from under her on every side. She was pressed to say whether her
father would object; whether she herself had any aversion (aversion!
God help her, poor girl! the word nearly made her jump into his arms);
any other preference (this she loudly disclaimed); whether it was
impossible that she should love him (Eleanor could not say that it
was impossible): and so at last all her defences demolished, all her
maiden barriers swept away, she capitulated, or rather marched out
with the honours of war, vanquished evidently, palpably vanquished,
but still not reduced to the necessity of confessing it.
And so the altar on the shore of the modern Aulis reeked with no
MR BOLD'S VISIT TO PLUMSTEAD
Whether or no the ill-natured prediction made by certain ladies in
the beginning of the last chapter was or was not carried out to the
letter, I am not in a position to state. Eleanor, however, certainly
did feel herself to have been baffled as she returned home with all
her news to her father. Certainly she had been victorious, certainly
she had achieved her object, certainly she was not unhappy, and yet
she did not feel herself triumphant. Everything would run smooth now.
Eleanor was not at all addicted to the Lydian school of romance; she
by no means objected to her lover because he came in at the door under
the name of Absolute, instead of pulling her out of a window under the
name of Beverley; and yet she felt that she had been imposed upon, and
could hardly think of Mary Bold with sisterly charity. "I did think
I could have trusted Mary," she said to herself over and over again.
"Oh that she should have dared to keep me in the room when I tried to
get out!" Eleanor, however, felt that the game was up, and that she
had now nothing further to do but to add to the budget of news which
was prepared for her father, that John Bold was her accepted lover.
We will, however, now leave her on her way, and go with John Bold to
Plumstead Episcopi, merely premising that Eleanor on reaching home
will not find things so smooth as she fondly expected; two messengers
had come, one to her father and the other to the archdeacon, and
each of them much opposed to her quiet mode of solving all their
difficulties; the one in the shape of a number of "The Jupiter", and
the other in that of a further opinion from Sir Abraham Haphazard.
John Bold got on his horse and rode off to Plumstead Episcopi; not
briskly and with eager spur, as men do ride when self-satisfied with
their own intentions; but slowly, modestly, thoughtfully, and somewhat
in dread of the coming interview. Now and again he would recur to the
scene which was just over, support himself by the remembrance of the
silence that gives consent, and exult as a happy lover. But even this
feeling was not without a shade of remorse. Had he not shown himself
childishly weak thus to yield up the resolve of many hours of thought
to the tears of a pretty girl? How was he to meet his lawyer?
How was he to back out of a matter in which his name was already so
publicly concerned? What, oh what! was he to say to Tom Towers?
While meditating these painful things he reached the lodge leading up
to the archdeacon's glebe, and for the first time in his life found
himself within the sacred precincts.
All the doctor's children were together on the slope of the lawn,
close to the road, as Bold rode up to the hall door. They were there
holding high debate on matters evidently of deep interest at Plumstead
Episcopi, and the voices of the boys had been heard before the lodge
gate was closed.
Florinda and Grizzel, frightened at the sight of so well-known an
enemy to the family, fled on the first appearance of the horseman,
and ran in terror to their mother's arms; not for them was it, tender
branches, to resent injuries, or as members of a church militant to
put on armour against its enemies. But the boys stood their ground
like heroes, and boldly demanded the business of the intruder.
"Do you want to see anybody here, sir?" said Henry, with a defiant eye
and a hostile tone, which plainly said that at any rate no one there
wanted to see the person so addressed; and as he spoke he brandished
aloft his garden water-pot, holding it by the spout, ready for the
braining of anyone.
"Henry," said Charles James slowly, and with a certain dignity of
diction, "Mr Bold of course would not have come without wanting to see
someone; if Mr Bold has a proper ground for wanting to see some person
here, of course he has a right to come."
But Samuel stepped lightly up to the horse's head, and offered his
services. "Oh, Mr Bold," said he, "papa, I'm sure, will be glad to
see you; I suppose you want to see papa. Shall I hold your horse for
you? Oh what a very pretty horse!" and he turned his head and winked
funnily at his brothers. "Papa has heard such good news about the old
hospital to-day. We know you'll be glad to hear it, because you're
such a friend of grandpapa Harding, and so much in love with Aunt
"How d'ye do, lads?" said Bold, dismounting. "I want to see your
father if he's at home."
"Lads!" said Henry, turning on his heel and addressing himself to his
brother, but loud enough to be heard by Bold; "lads, indeed! if we're
lads, what does he call himself?"
Charles James condescended to say nothing further, but cocked his hat
with much precision, and left the visitor to the care of his youngest
Samuel stayed till the servant came, chatting and patting the horse;
but as soon as Bold had disappeared through the front door, he stuck
a switch under the animal's tail to make him kick if possible.
The church reformer soon found himself "tête-à-tête" with the
archdeacon in that same room, in that sanctum sanctorum of the
rectory, to which we have already been introduced. As he entered he
heard the click of a certain patent lock, but it struck him with no
surprise; the worthy clergyman was no doubt hiding from eyes profane
his last much-studied sermon; for the archdeacon, though he preached
but seldom, was famous for his sermons. No room, Bold thought, could
have been more becoming for a dignitary of the church; each wall was
loaded with theology; over each separate bookcase was printed in small
gold letters the names of those great divines whose works were ranged
beneath: beginning from the early fathers in due chronological order,
there were to be found the precious labours of the chosen servants
of the church down to the last pamphlet written in opposition to the
consecration of Dr Hampden; and raised above this were to be seen
the busts of the greatest among the great: Chrysostom, St Augustine,
Thomas à Becket, Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop Laud, and Dr Philpotts.
Every appliance that could make study pleasant and give ease to the
overtoiled brain was there; chairs made to relieve each limb and
muscle; reading-desks and writing-desks to suit every attitude;
lamps and candles mechanically contrived to throw their light on any
favoured spot, as the student might desire; a shoal of newspapers to
amuse the few leisure moments which might be stolen from the labours
of the day; and then from the window a view right through a bosky
vista along which ran a broad green path from the rectory to the
church,--at the end of which the tawny-tinted fine old tower was seen
with all its variegated pinnacles and parapets. Few parish churches
in England are in better repair, or better worth keeping so, than that
at Plumstead Episcopi; and yet it is built in a faulty style: the body
of the church is low,--so low, that the nearly flat leaden roof would
be visible from the churchyard, were it not for the carved parapet
with which it is surrounded. It is cruciform, though the transepts
are irregular, one being larger than the other; and the tower is much
too high in proportion to the church. But the colour of the building
is perfect; it is that rich yellow gray which one finds nowhere but in
the south and west of England, and which is so strong a characteristic
of most of our old houses of Tudor architecture. The stone work also
is beautiful; the mullions of the windows and the thick tracery of
the Gothic workmanship is as rich as fancy can desire; and though in
gazing on such a structure one knows by rule that the old priests who
built it, built it wrong, one cannot bring oneself to wish that they
should have made it other than it is.
When Bold was ushered into the book-room, he found its owner standing
with his back to the empty fire-place ready to receive him, and he
could not but perceive that that expansive brow was elated with
triumph, and that those full heavy lips bore more prominently than
usual an appearance of arrogant success.
"Well, Mr Bold," said he;--"well, what can I do for you?
Very happy, I can assure you, to do anything for such a friend
of my father-in-law."
"I hope you'll excuse my calling, Dr Grantly."
"Certainly, certainly," said the archdeacon; "I can assure you, no
apology is necessary from Mr Bold;--only let me know what I can do for
Dr Grantly was standing himself, and he did not ask Bold to sit, and
therefore he had to tell his tale standing, leaning on the table, with
his hat in his hand. He did, however, manage to tell it; and as the
archdeacon never once interrupted him, or even encouraged him by a
single word, he was not long in coming to the end of it.
"And so, Mr Bold, I'm to understand, I believe, that you are desirous
of abandoning this attack upon Mr Harding."
"Oh, Dr Grantly, there has been no attack, I can assure you--"
"Well, well, we won't quarrel about words; I should call it an
attack;--most men would so call an endeavour to take away from a man
every shilling of income that he has to live upon; but it sha'n't be
an attack, if you don't like it; you wish to abandon this--this little
game of backgammon you've begun to play."
"I intend to put an end to the legal proceedings which I have
"I understand," said the archdeacon. "You've already had enough
of it; well, I can't say that I am surprised; carrying on a losing
lawsuit where one has nothing to gain, but everything to pay, is not
Bold turned very red in the face. "You misinterpret my motives," said
he; "but, however, that is of little consequence. I did not come
to trouble you with my motives, but to tell you a matter of fact.
Good-morning, Dr Grantly."
"One moment,--one moment," said the other. "I don't exactly
appreciate the taste which induced you to make any personal
communication to me on the subject; but I dare say I'm wrong, I dare
say your judgment is the better of the two; but as you have done me
the honour,--as you have, as it were, forced me into a certain amount
of conversation on a subject which had better, perhaps, have been left
to our lawyers, you will excuse me if I ask you to hear my reply to
"I am in no hurry, Dr Grantly."
"Well, I am, Mr Bold; my time is not exactly leisure time, and,
therefore, if you please, we'll go to the point at once:--you're going
to abandon this lawsuit?"--and he paused for a reply.
"Yes, Dr Grantly, I am."
"Having exposed a gentleman who was one of your father's warmest
friends to all the ignominy and insolence which the press could heap
upon his name, having somewhat ostentatiously declared that it was
your duty as a man of high public virtue to protect those poor old
fools whom you have humbugged there at the hospital, you now find that
the game costs more than it's worth, and so you make up your mind to
have done with it. A prudent resolution, Mr Bold; but it is a pity
you should have been so long coming to it. Has it struck you that
we may not now choose to give over? that we may find it necessary to
punish the injury you have done to us? Are you aware, sir, that we
have gone to enormous expense to resist this iniquitous attempt of
Bold's face was now furiously red, and he nearly crushed his hat
between his hands; but he said nothing.
"We have found it necessary to employ the best advice that money
could procure. Are you aware, sir, what may be the probable cost of
securing the services of the attorney-general?"
"Not in the least, Dr Grantly."
"I dare say not, sir. When you recklessly put this affair into
the hands of your friend Mr Finney, whose six-and-eightpences and
thirteen-and-fourpences may, probably, not amount to a large sum, you
were indifferent as to the cost and suffering which such a proceeding
might entail on others; but are you aware, sir, that these crushing
costs must now come out of your own pocket?"
"Any demand of such a nature which Mr Harding's lawyer may have to
make will doubtless be made to my lawyer."
"'Mr Harding's lawyer and my lawyer!' Did you come here merely to
refer me to the lawyers? Upon my word I think the honour of your
visit might have been spared! And now, sir, I'll tell you what my
opinion is:--my opinion is, that we shall not allow you to withdraw
this matter from the courts."
"You can do as you please, Dr Grantly; good-morning."
"Hear me out, sir," said the archdeacon; "I have here in my hands the
last opinion given in this matter by Sir Abraham Haphazard. I dare
say you have already heard of this;--I dare say it has had something
to do with your visit here to-day."
"I know nothing whatever of Sir Abraham Haphazard or his opinion."
"Be that as it may, here it is; he declares most explicitly that under
no phasis of the affair whatever have you a leg to stand upon; that Mr
Harding is as safe in his hospital as I am here in my rectory; that a
more futile attempt to destroy a man was never made, than this which
you have made to ruin Mr Harding. Here," and he slapped the paper
on the table, "I have this opinion from the very first lawyer in the
land; and under these circumstances you expect me to make you a low
bow for your kind offer to release Mr Harding from the toils of your
net! Sir, your net is not strong enough to hold him; sir, your net
has fallen to pieces, and you knew that well enough before I told
you--and now, sir, I'll wish you good-morning, for I'm busy."
Bold was now choking with passion. He had let the archdeacon run on
because he knew not with what words to interrupt him; but now that he
had been so defied and insulted, he could not leave the room without
"Dr Grantly," he commenced.
"I have nothing further to say or to hear," said the archdeacon.
"I'll do myself the honour to order your horse." And he rang the
"I came here, Dr Grantly, with the warmest, kindest feelings--"
"Oh, of course you did; nobody doubts it."
"With the kindest feelings;--and they have been most grossly outraged
by your treatment."
"Of course they have;--I have not chosen to see my father-in-law
ruined; what an outrage that has been to your feelings!"
"The time will come, Dr Grantly, when you will understand why I called
upon you to-day."
"No doubt, no doubt. Is Mr Bold's horse there? That's right; open
the front door. Good-morning, Mr Bold;" and the doctor stalked into
his own drawing-room, closing the door behind him, and making it quite
impossible that John Bold should speak another word.
As he got on his horse, which he was fain to do feeling like a dog
turned out of a kitchen, he was again greeted by little Sammy.
"Good-bye, Mr Bold; I hope we may have the pleasure of seeing you
again before long; I am sure papa will always be glad to see you."
That was certainly the bitterest moment in John Bold's life. Not even
the remembrance of his successful love could comfort him; nay, when
he thought of Eleanor he felt that it was that very love which had
brought him to such a pass. That he should have been so insulted,
and be unable to reply! That he should have given up so much to the
request of a girl, and then have had his motives so misunderstood!
That he should have made so gross a mistake as this visit of his to
the archdeacon's! He bit the top of his whip, till he penetrated the
horn of which it was made: he struck the poor animal in his anger, and
then was doubly angry with himself at his futile passion. He had been
so completely checkmated, so palpably overcome! and what was he to do?
He could not continue his action after pledging himself to abandon it;
nor was there any revenge in that;--it was the very step to which his
enemy had endeavoured to goad him!
He threw the reins to the servant who came to take his horse, and
rushed upstairs into his drawing-room, where his sister Mary was
"If there be a devil," said he, "a real devil here on earth, it is
Dr Grantly." He vouchsafed her no further intelligence, but again
seizing his hat, he rushed out, and took his departure for London
without another word to anyone.
THE WARDEN'S DECISION
The meeting between Eleanor and her father was not so stormy as that
described in the last chapter, but it was hardly more successful. On
her return from Bold's house she found her father in a strange state.
He was not sorrowful and silent as he had been on that memorable
day when his son-in-law lectured him as to all that he owed to his
order; nor was he in his usual quiet mood. When Eleanor reached the
hospital, he was walking to and fro upon the lawn, and she soon saw
that he was much excited.
"I am going to London, my dear," he said as soon as he saw her.
"Yes, my dear, to London; I will have this matter settled some way;
there are some things, Eleanor, which I cannot bear."
"Oh, papa, what is it?" said she, leading him by the arm into the
house. "I had such good news for you, and now you make me fear I am
too late." And then, before he could let her know what had caused
this sudden resolve, or could point to the fatal paper which lay on
the table, she told him that the lawsuit was over, that Bold had
commissioned her to assure her father in his name that it would be
abandoned,--that there was no further cause for misery, that the whole
matter might be looked on as though it had never been discussed. She
did not tell him with what determined vehemence she had obtained this
concession in his favour, nor did she mention the price she was to pay
The warden did not express himself peculiarly gratified at this
intelligence, and Eleanor, though she had not worked for thanks, and
was by no means disposed to magnify her own good offices, felt hurt
at the manner in which her news was received. "Mr Bold can act as
he thinks proper, my love," said he; "if Mr Bold thinks he has been
wrong, of course he will discontinue what he is doing; but that cannot
change my purpose."
"Oh, papa!" she exclaimed, all but crying with vexation; "I thought
you would have been so happy;--I thought all would have been right
"Mr Bold," continued he, "has set great people to work,--so great that
I doubt they are now beyond his control. Read that, my dear." The
warden, doubling up a number of "The Jupiter", pointed to the peculiar
article which she was to read. It was to the last of the three
leaders, which are generally furnished daily for the support of the
nation, that Mr Harding directed her attention. It dealt some heavy
blows on various clerical delinquents; on families who received their
tens of thousands yearly for doing nothing; on men who, as the article
stated, rolled in wealth which they had neither earned nor inherited,
and which was in fact stolen from the poorer clergy. It named some
sons of bishops, and grandsons of archbishops; men great in their way,
who had redeemed their disgrace in the eyes of many by the enormity of
their plunder; and then, having disposed of these leviathans, it
descended to Mr Harding.
We alluded some weeks since to an instance of similar
injustice, though in a more humble scale, in which the warden
of an almshouse at Barchester has become possessed of the
income of the greater part of the whole institution. Why an
almshouse should have a warden we cannot pretend to explain,
nor can we say what special need twelve old men can have for
the services of a separate clergyman, seeing that they have
twelve reserved seats for themselves in Barchester Cathedral.
But be this as it may, let the gentleman call himself warden
or precentor, or what he will, let him be never so scrupulous
in exacting religious duties from his twelve dependents, or
never so negligent as regards the services of the cathedral,
it appears palpably clear that he can be entitled to no
portion of the revenue of the hospital, excepting that which
the founder set apart for him; and it is equally clear that
the founder did not intend that three-fifths of his charity
should be so consumed.
The case is certainly a paltry one after the tens of
thousands with which we have been dealing, for the warden's
income is after all but a poor eight hundred a year: eight
hundred a year is not magnificent preferment of itself, and
the warden may, for anything we know, be worth much more to
the church; but if so, let the church pay him out of funds
justly at its own disposal.
We allude to the question of the Barchester almshouse at the
present moment, because we understand that a plea has been
set up which will be peculiarly revolting to the minds of
English churchmen. An action has been taken against Mr
Warden Harding, on behalf of the almsmen, by a gentleman
acting solely on public grounds, and it is to be argued that
Mr Harding takes nothing but what he received as a servant of
the hospital, and that he is not himself responsible for the
amount of stipend given to him for his work. Such a plea
would doubtless be fair, if anyone questioned the daily wages
of a bricklayer employed on the building, or the fee of the
charwoman who cleans it; but we cannot envy the feeling of a
clergyman of the Church of England who could allow such an
argument to be put in his mouth.
If this plea be put forward we trust Mr Harding will be
forced as a witness to state the nature of his employment;
the amount of work that he does; the income which he
receives; and the source from whence he obtained his
appointment. We do not think he will receive much public
sympathy to atone for the annoyance of such an examination.
As Eleanor read the article her face flushed with indignation, and
when she had finished it, she almost feared to look up at her father.
"Well, my dear," said he, "what do you think of that;--is it worth
while to be a warden at that price?"
"Oh, papa;--dear papa!"
"Mr Bold can't un-write that, my dear;--Mr Bold can't say that that
sha'n't be read by every clergyman at Oxford; nay, by every gentleman
in the land;" and then he walked up and down the room, while Eleanor
in mute despair followed him with her eyes. "And I'll tell you what,
my dear," he continued, speaking now very calmly, and in a forced
manner very unlike himself; "Mr Bold can't dispute the truth of every
word in that article you have just read--nor can I." Eleanor stared
at him, as though she scarcely understood the words he was speaking.
"Nor can I, Eleanor: that's the worst of all, or would be so if
there were no remedy. I have thought much of all this since we were
together last night;" and he came and sat beside her, and put his arm
round her waist as he had done then. "I have thought much of what the
archdeacon has said, and of what this paper says; and I do believe I
have no right to be here."
"No right to be warden of the hospital, papa?"
"No right to be warden with eight hundred a year; no right to be
warden with such a house as this; no right to spend in luxury money
that was intended for charity. Mr Bold may do as he pleases about his
suit, but I hope he will not abandon it for my sake."
Poor Eleanor! this was hard upon her. Was it for this she had made
her great resolve! For this that she had laid aside her quiet
demeanour, and taken upon her the rants of a tragedy heroine! One
may work and not for thanks, but yet feel hurt at not receiving them;
and so it was with Eleanor: one may be disinterested in one's good
actions, and yet feel discontented that they are not recognised.
Charity may be given with the left hand so privily that the right hand
does not know it, and yet the left hand may regret to feel that it has
no immediate reward. Eleanor had had no wish to burden her father
with a weight of obligation, and yet she had looked forward to much
delight from the knowledge that she had freed him from his sorrows:
now such hopes were entirely over: all that she had done was of no
avail; she had humbled herself to Bold in vain; the evil was utterly
beyond her power to cure!
She had thought also how gently she would whisper to her father all
that her lover had said to her about herself, and how impossible she
had found it to reject him: and then she had anticipated her father's
kindly kiss and close embrace as he gave his sanction to her love.
Alas! she could say nothing of this now. In speaking of Mr Bold, her
father put him aside as one whose thoughts and sayings and acts could
be of no moment. Gentle reader, did you ever feel yourself snubbed?
Did you ever, when thinking much of your own importance, find yourself
suddenly reduced to a nonentity? Such was Eleanor's feeling now.
"They shall not put forward this plea on my behalf," continued the
warden. "Whatever may be the truth of the matter, that at any rate is
not true; and the man who wrote that article is right in saying that
such a plea is revolting to an honest mind. I will go up to London,
my dear, and see these lawyers myself, and if no better excuse can be
made for me than that, I and the hospital will part."
"But the archdeacon, papa?"
"I can't help it, my dear; there are some things which a man cannot
bear:--I cannot bear that;" and he put his hand upon the newspaper.
"But will the archdeacon go with you?"
To tell the truth, Mr Harding had made up his mind to steal a march
upon the archdeacon. He was aware that he could take no steps without
informing his dread son-in-law, but he had resolved that he would send
out a note to Plumstead Episcopi detailing his plans, but that the
messenger should not leave Barchester till he himself had started
for London; so that he might be a day before the doctor, who, he had
no doubt, would follow him. In that day, if he had luck, he might
arrange it all; he might explain to Sir Abraham that he, as warden,
would have nothing further to do with the defence about to be set up;
he might send in his official resignation to his friend the bishop,
and so make public the whole transaction, that even the doctor would
not be able to undo what he had done. He knew too well the doctor's
strength and his own weakness to suppose he could do this, if they
both reached London together; indeed, he would never be able to get to
London, if the doctor knew of his intended journey in time to prevent
"No, I think not," said he. "I think I shall start before the
archdeacon could be ready;--I shall go early to-morrow morning."
"That will be best, papa," said Eleanor, showing that her father's
ruse was appreciated.
"Why yes, my love. The fact is, I wish to do all this before the
archdeacon can--can interfere. There is a great deal of truth in
all he says;--he argues very well, and I can't always answer him;
but there is an old saying, Nelly: 'Everyone knows where his own
shoe pinches!' He'll say that I want moral courage, and strength of
character, and power of endurance, and it's all true; but I'm sure I
ought not to remain here, if I have nothing better to put forward than
a quibble: so, Nelly, we shall have to leave this pretty place."
Eleanor's face brightened up, as she assured her father how cordially
she agreed with him.
"True, my love," said he, now again quite happy and at ease in his
manner. "What good to us is this place or all the money, if we are to
be ill-spoken of?"
"Oh, papa, I am so glad!"
"My darling child! It did cost me a pang at first, Nelly, to think
that you should lose your pretty drawing-room, and your ponies, and
your garden: the garden will be the worst of all;--but there is a
garden at Crabtree, a very pretty garden."
Crabtree Parva was the name of the small living which Mr Harding had
held as a minor canon, and which still belonged to him. It was only
worth some eighty pounds a year, and a small house and glebe, all
of which were now handed over to Mr Harding's curate; but it was to
Crabtree glebe that Mr Harding thought of retiring. This parish must
not be mistaken for that other living, Crabtree Canonicorum, as it is
called. Crabtree Canonicorum is a very nice thing; there are only two
hundred parishioners; there are four hundred acres of glebe; and the
great and small tithes, which both go to the rector, are worth four
hundred pounds a year more. Crabtree Canonicorum is in the gift of
the dean and chapter, and is at this time possessed by the Honourable
and Reverend Dr Vesey Stanhope, who also fills the prebendal stall
of Goosegorge in Barchester Chapter, and holds the united rectory of
Eiderdown and Stogpingum, or Stoke Pinquium, as it should be written.
This is the same Dr Vesey Stanhope whose hospitable villa on the Lake
of Como is so well known to the "élite" of English travellers, and
whose collection of Lombard butterflies is supposed to be unique.
"Yes," said the warden, musing, "there is a very pretty garden at
Crabtree;--but I shall be sorry to disturb poor Smith." Smith was the
curate of Crabtree, a gentleman who was maintaining a wife and half a
dozen children on the income arising from his profession.
Eleanor assured her father that, as far as she was concerned, she
could leave her house and her ponies without a single regret. She was
only so happy that he was going--going where he would escape all this
"But we will take the music, my dear."
And so they went on planning their future happiness, and plotting how
they would arrange it all without the interposition of the archdeacon,
and at last they again became confidential, and then the warden did
thank her for what she had done, and Eleanor, lying on her father's
shoulder, did find an opportunity to tell her secret: and the father
gave his blessing to his child, and said that the man whom she
loved was honest, good, and kind-hearted, and right-thinking in the
main,--one who wanted only a good wife to put him quite upright,--"a
man, my love," he ended by saying, "to whom I firmly believe that I
can trust my treasure with safety."
"But what will Dr Grantly say?"
"Well, my dear, it can't be helped;--we shall be out at Crabtree
And Eleanor ran upstairs to prepare her father's clothes for his
journey; and the warden returned to his garden to make his last adieux
to every tree, and shrub, and shady nook that he knew so well.
Wretched in spirit, groaning under the feeling of insult,
self-condemning, and ill-satisfied in every way, Bold returned to
his London lodgings. Ill as he had fared in his interview with the
archdeacon, he was not the less under the necessity of carrying out
his pledge to Eleanor; and he went about his ungracious task with a
The attorneys whom he had employed in London received his instructions
with surprise and evident misgiving; however, they could only obey,
and mutter something of their sorrow that such heavy costs should
only fall upon their own employer,--especially as nothing was wanting
but perseverance to throw them on the opposite party. Bold left the
office which he had latterly so much frequented, shaking the dust from
off his feet; and before he was down the stairs, an edict had already
gone forth for the preparation of the bill.
He next thought of the newspapers. The case had been taken up by more
than one; and he was well aware that the keynote had been sounded by
"The Jupiter". He had been very intimate with Tom Towers, and had
often discussed with him the affairs of the hospital. Bold could
not say that the articles in that paper had been written at his own
instigation. He did not even know, as a fact, that they had been
written by his friend. Tom Towers had never said that such a view of
the case, or such a side in the dispute, would be taken by the paper
with which he was connected. Very discreet in such matters was Tom
Towers, and altogether indisposed to talk loosely of the concerns
of that mighty engine of which it was his high privilege to move
in secret some portion. Nevertheless Bold believed that to him
were owing those dreadful words which had caused such panic at
Barchester,--and he conceived himself bound to prevent their
repetition. With this view he betook himself from the attorneys'
office to that laboratory where, with amazing chemistry, Tom Towers
compounded thunderbolts for the destruction of all that is evil, and
for the furtherance of all that is good, in this and other
Who has not heard of Mount Olympus,--that high abode of all the powers
of type, that favoured seat of the great goddess Pica, that wondrous
habitation of gods and devils, from whence, with ceaseless hum of
steam and never-ending flow of Castalian ink, issue forth fifty
thousand nightly edicts for the governance of a subject nation?
Velvet and gilding do not make a throne, nor gold and jewels a
sceptre. It is a throne because the most exalted one sits there,--and
a sceptre because the most mighty one wields it. So it is with Mount
Olympus. Should a stranger make his way thither at dull noonday, or
during the sleepy hours of the silent afternoon, he would find no
acknowledged temple of power and beauty, no fitting fane for the
great Thunderer, no proud façades and pillared roofs to support
the dignity of this greatest of earthly potentates. To the
outward and uninitiated eye, Mount Olympus is a somewhat humble
spot,--undistinguished, unadorned,--nay, almost mean. It stands
alone, as it were, in a mighty city, close to the densest throng
of men, but partaking neither of the noise nor the crowd; a small
secluded, dreary spot, tenanted, one would say, by quite unambitious
people at the easiest rents. "Is this Mount Olympus?" asks the
unbelieving stranger. "Is it from these small, dark, dingy buildings
that those infallible laws proceed which cabinets are called upon to
obey; by which bishops are to be guided, lords and commons controlled,
judges instructed in law, generals in strategy, admirals in naval
tactics, and orange-women in the management of their barrows?"
"Yes, my friend--from these walls. From here issue the only known
infallible bulls for the guidance of British souls and bodies.
This little court is the Vatican of England. Here reigns a
pope, self-nominated, self-consecrated,--ay, and much stranger
too,--self-believing!--a pope whom, if you cannot obey him, I would
advise you to disobey as silently as possible; a pope hitherto afraid
of no Luther; a pope who manages his own inquisition, who punishes
unbelievers as no most skilful inquisitor of Spain ever dreamt of
doing;--one who can excommunicate thoroughly, fearfully, radically;
put you beyond the pale of men's charity; make you odious to your
dearest friends, and turn you into a monster to be pointed at by the
finger!" Oh heavens! and this is Mount Olympus!
It is a fact amazing to ordinary mortals that "The Jupiter" is never
wrong. With what endless care, with what unsparing labour, do we not
strive to get together for our great national council the men most
fitting to compose it. And how we fail! Parliament is always wrong:
look at "The Jupiter", and see how futile are their meetings, how vain
their council, how needless all their trouble! With what pride do we
regard our chief ministers, the great servants of state, the oligarchs
of the nation on whose wisdom we lean, to whom we look for guidance in
our difficulties! But what are they to the writers of "The Jupiter"?
They hold council together and with anxious thought painfully
elaborate their country's good; but when all is done, "The Jupiter"
declares that all is naught. Why should we look to Lord John
Russell;--why should we regard Palmerston and Gladstone, when Tom
Towers without a struggle can put us right? Look at our generals,
what faults they make; at our admirals, how inactive they are. What
money, honesty, and science can do, is done; and yet how badly are our
troops brought together, fed, conveyed, clothed, armed, and managed.
The most excellent of our good men do their best to man our ships,
with the assistance of all possible external appliances; but in vain.
All, all is wrong--alas! alas! Tom Towers, and he alone, knows all
about it. Why, oh why, ye earthly ministers, why have ye not followed
more closely this heaven-sent messenger that is among us?
Were it not well for us in our ignorance that we confided all things
to "The Jupiter"? Would it not be wise in us to abandon useless
talking, idle thinking, and profitless labour? Away with majorities
in the House of Commons, with verdicts from judicial bench given after
much delay, with doubtful laws, and the fallible attempts of humanity!
Does not "The Jupiter", coming forth daily with fifty thousand
impressions full of unerring decision on every mortal subject, set all
matters sufficiently at rest? Is not Tom Towers here, able to guide
us and willing?
Yes indeed, able and willing to guide all men in all things, so
long as he is obeyed as autocrat should be obeyed,--with undoubting
submission: only let not ungrateful ministers seek other colleagues
than those whom Tom Towers may approve; let church and state, law and
physic, commerce and agriculture, the arts of war, and the arts of
peace, all listen and obey, and all will be made perfect. Has not Tom
Towers an all-seeing eye? From the diggings of Australia to those of
California, right round the habitable globe, does he not know, watch,
and chronicle the doings of everyone? From a bishopric in New Zealand
to an unfortunate director of a North-west passage, is he not the only
fit judge of capability? From the sewers of London to the Central
Railway of India,--from the palaces of St Petersburg to the cabins of
Connaught, nothing can escape him. Britons have but to read, to obey,
and be blessed. None but the fools doubt the wisdom of "The Jupiter";
none but the mad dispute its facts.
No established religion has ever been without its unbelievers, even
in the country where it is the most firmly fixed; no creed has been
without scoffers; no church has so prospered as to free itself
entirely from dissent. There are those who doubt "The Jupiter"!
They live and breathe the upper air, walking here unscathed, though
scorned,--men, born of British mothers and nursed on English milk, who
scruple not to say that Mount Olympus has its price, that Tom Towers
can be bought for gold!
Such is Mount Olympus, the mouthpiece of all the wisdom of this great
country. It may probably be said that no place in this 19th century
is more worthy of notice. No treasury mandate armed with the
signatures of all the government has half the power of one of those
broad sheets, which fly forth from hence so abundantly, armed with no
signature at all.
Some great man, some mighty peer,--we'll say a noble duke,--retires to
rest feared and honoured by all his countrymen,--fearless himself; if
not a good man, at any rate a mighty man,--too mighty to care much
what men may say about his want of virtue. He rises in the morning
degraded, mean, and miserable; an object of men's scorn, anxious only
to retire as quickly as may be to some German obscurity, some unseen
Italian privacy, or indeed, anywhere out of sight. What has made this
awful change? what has so afflicted him? An article has appeared in
"The Jupiter"; some fifty lines of a narrow column have destroyed all
his grace's equanimity, and banished him for ever from the world.
No man knows who wrote the bitter words; the clubs talk confusedly of
the matter, whispering to each other this and that name; while Tom
Towers walks quietly along Pall Mall, with his coat buttoned close
against the east wind, as though he were a mortal man, and not a god
dispensing thunderbolts from Mount Olympus.
It was not to Mount Olympus that our friend Bold betook himself. He
had before now wandered round that lonely spot, thinking how grand a
thing it was to write articles for "The Jupiter"; considering within
himself whether by any stretch of the powers within him he could ever
come to such distinction; wondering how Tom Towers would take any
little humble offering of his talents; calculating that Tom Towers
himself must have once had a beginning, have once doubted as to
his own success. Towers could not have been born a writer in "The
Jupiter". With such ideas, half ambitious and half awe-struck, had
Bold regarded the silent-looking workshop of the gods; but he had
never yet by word or sign attempted to influence the slightest word
of his unerring friend. On such a course was he now intent; and not
without much inward palpitation did he betake himself to the quiet
abode of wisdom, where Tom Towers was to be found o' mornings inhaling
ambrosia and sipping nectar in the shape of toast and tea.
Not far removed from Mount Olympus, but somewhat nearer to the blessed
regions of the West, is the most favoured abode of Themis. Washed by
the rich tide which now passes from the towers of Cæsar to Barry's
halls of eloquence; and again back, with new offerings of a city's
tribute, from the palaces of peers to the mart of merchants, stand
those quiet walls which Law has delighted to honour by its presence.
What a world within a world is the Temple! how quiet are its
"entangled walks," as someone lately has called them, and yet how
close to the densest concourse of humanity! how gravely respectable
its sober alleys, though removed but by a single step from the
profanity of the Strand and the low iniquity of Fleet Street! Old
St Dunstan, with its bell-smiting bludgeoners, has been removed; the
ancient shops with their faces full of pleasant history are passing
away one by one; the bar itself is to go--its doom has been pronounced
by "The Jupiter"; rumour tells us of some huge building that is to
appear in these latitudes dedicated to law, subversive of the courts
of Westminster, and antagonistic to the Rolls and Lincoln's Inn; but
nothing yet threatens the silent beauty of the Temple: it is the
mediæval court of the metropolis.
Here, on the choicest spot of this choice ground, stands a lofty row
of chambers, looking obliquely upon the sullied Thames; before the
windows, the lawn of the Temple Gardens stretches with that dim yet
delicious verdure so refreshing to the eyes of Londoners. If doomed
to live within the thickest of London smoke you would surely say that
that would be your chosen spot. Yes, you, you whom I now address, my
dear, middle-aged bachelor friend, can nowhere be so well domiciled
as here. No one here will ask whether you are out or at home; alone
or with friends; here no Sabbatarian will investigate your Sundays,
no censorious landlady will scrutinise your empty bottle, no
valetudinarian neighbour will complain of late hours. If you love
books, to what place are books so suitable? The whole spot is
redolent of typography. Would you worship the Paphian goddess, the
groves of Cyprus are not more taciturn than those of the Temple.
Wit and wine are always here, and always together; the revels of the
Temple are as those of polished Greece, where the wildest worshipper
of Bacchus never forgot the dignity of the god whom he adored. Where
can retirement be so complete as here? where can you be so sure of all
the pleasures of society?
It was here that Tom Towers lived, and cultivated with eminent success
the tenth Muse who now governs the periodical press. But let it not
be supposed that his chambers were such, or so comfortless, as are
frequently the gaunt abodes of legal aspirants. Four chairs, a
half-filled deal book-case with hangings of dingy green baize, an old
office table covered with dusty papers, which are not moved once in
six months, and an older Pembroke brother with rickety legs, for all
daily uses; a despatcher for the preparation of lobsters and coffee,
and an apparatus for the cooking of toast and mutton chops; such
utensils and luxuries as these did not suffice for the well-being of
Tom Towers. He indulged in four rooms on the first floor, each of
which was furnished, if not with the splendour, with probably more
than the comfort of Stafford House. Every addition that science
and art have lately made to the luxuries of modern life was to be
found there. The room in which he usually sat was surrounded by
book-shelves carefully filled; nor was there a volume there which was
not entitled to its place in such a collection, both by its intrinsic
worth and exterior splendour: a pretty portable set of steps in one
corner of the room showed that those even on the higher shelves were
intended for use. The chamber contained but two works of art:--the
one, an admirable bust of Sir Robert Peel, by Power, declared the
individual politics of our friend; and the other, a singularly long
figure of a female devotee, by Millais, told equally plainly the
school of art to which he was addicted. This picture was not hung,
as pictures usually are, against the wall; there was no inch of wall
vacant for such a purpose: it had a stand or desk erected for its own
accommodation; and there on her pedestal, framed and glazed, stood
the devotional lady looking intently at a lily as no lady ever looked
Our modern artists, whom we style Pre-Raphaelites, have delighted
to go back, not only to the finish and peculiar manner, but also to
the subjects of the early painters. It is impossible to give them
too much praise for the elaborate perseverance with which they have
equalled the minute perfections of the masters from whom they take
their inspiration: nothing probably can exceed the painting of some of
these latter-day pictures. It is, however, singular into what faults
they fall as regards their subjects: they are not quite content to
take the old stock groups,--a Sebastian with his arrows, a Lucia with
her eyes in a dish, a Lorenzo with a gridiron, or the Virgin with two
children. But they are anything but happy in their change. As a
rule, no figure should be drawn in a position which it is impossible
to suppose any figure should maintain. The patient endurance of St
Sebastian, the wild ecstasy of St John in the Wilderness, the maternal
love of the Virgin, are feelings naturally portrayed by a fixed
posture; but the lady with the stiff back and bent neck, who looks at
her flower, and is still looking from hour to hour, gives us an idea
of pain without grace, and abstraction without a cause.
It was easy, from his rooms, to see that Tom Towers was a Sybarite,
though by no means an idle one. He was lingering over his last cup of
tea, surrounded by an ocean of newspapers, through which he had been
swimming, when John Bold's card was brought in by his tiger. This
tiger never knew that his master was at home, though he often knew
that he was not, and thus Tom Towers was never invaded but by his
own consent. On this occasion, after twisting the card twice in his
fingers, he signified to his attendant imp that he was visible; and
the inner door was unbolted, and our friend announced.
I have before said that he of "The Jupiter" and John Bold were
intimate. There was no very great difference in their ages, for
Towers was still considerably under forty; and when Bold had been
attending the London hospitals, Towers, who was not then the great man
that he had since become, had been much with him. Then they had often
discussed together the objects of their ambition and future prospects;
then Tom Towers was struggling hard to maintain himself, as a
briefless barrister, by shorthand reporting for any of the papers that
would engage him; then he had not dared to dream of writing leaders
for "The Jupiter", or canvassing the conduct of Cabinet ministers.
Things had altered since that time: the briefless barrister was still
briefless, but he now despised briefs: could he have been sure of a
judge's seat, he would hardly have left his present career. It is
true he wore no ermine, bore no outward marks of a world's respect;
but with what a load of inward importance was he charged! It is true
his name appeared in no large capitals; on no wall was chalked up "Tom
Towers for ever;"--"Freedom of the Press and Tom Towers;" but what
member of Parliament had half his power? It is true that in far-off
provinces men did not talk daily of Tom Towers but they read "The
Jupiter", and acknowledged that without "The Jupiter" life was not
worth having. This kind of hidden but still conscious glory suited
the nature of the man. He loved to sit silent in a corner of his club
and listen to the loud chattering of politicians, and to think how
they all were in his power;--how he could smite the loudest of them,
were it worth his while to raise his pen for such a purpose. He loved
to watch the great men of whom he daily wrote, and flatter himself
that he was greater than any of them. Each of them was responsible to
his country, each of them must answer if inquired into, each of them
must endure abuse with good humour, and insolence without anger. But
to whom was he, Tom Towers, responsible? No one could insult him;
no one could inquire into him. He could speak out withering words,
and no one could answer him: ministers courted him, though perhaps
they knew not his name; bishops feared him; judges doubted their own
verdicts unless he confirmed them; and generals, in their councils of
war, did not consider more deeply what the enemy would do, than what
"The Jupiter" would say. Tom Towers never boasted of "The Jupiter";
he scarcely ever named the paper even to the most intimate of his
friends; he did not even wish to be spoken of as connected with it;
but he did not the less value his privileges, or think the less of his
own importance. It is probable that Tom Towers considered himself
the most powerful man in Europe; and so he walked on from day to day,
studiously striving to look a man, but knowing within his breast that
he was a god.
TOM TOWERS, DR ANTICANT, AND MR SENTIMENT
"Ah, Bold! how are you? You haven't breakfasted?"
"Oh yes, hours ago. And how are you?"
When one Esquimau meets another, do the two, as an invariable rule,
ask after each other's health? is it inherent in all human nature to
make this obliging inquiry? Did any reader of this tale ever meet
any friend or acquaintance without asking some such question, and did
anyone ever listen to the reply? Sometimes a studiously courteous
questioner will show so much thought in the matter as to answer it
himself, by declaring that had he looked at you he needn't have asked;
meaning thereby to signify that you are an absolute personification of
health: but such persons are only those who premeditate small effects.
"I suppose you're busy?" inquired Bold.
"Why, yes, rather;--or I should say rather not. If I have a leisure
hour in the day, this is it."
"I want to ask you if you can oblige me in a certain matter."
Towers understood in a moment, from the tone of his friend's voice,
that the certain matter referred to the newspaper. He smiled, and
nodded his head, but made no promise.
"You know this lawsuit that I've been engaged in," said Bold.
Tom Towers intimated that he was aware of the action which was pending
about the hospital.
"Well, I've abandoned it."
Tom Towers merely raised his eyebrows, thrust his hands into his
trowsers pockets, and waited for his friend to proceed.
"Yes, I've given it up. I needn't trouble you with all the history;
but the fact is that the conduct of Mr Harding--Mr Harding is the--"
"Oh yes, the master of the place; the man who takes all the money and
does nothing," said Tom Towers, interrupting him.
"Well, I don't know about that; but his conduct in the matter has been
so excellent, so little selfish, so open, that I cannot proceed in the
matter to his detriment." Bold's heart misgave him as to Eleanor as
he said this; and yet he felt that what he said was not untrue. "I
think nothing should now be done till the wardenship be vacant."
"And be again filled," said Towers, "as it certainly would, before
anyone heard of the vacancy; and the same objection would again exist.
It's an old story, that of the vested rights of the incumbent; but
suppose the incumbent has only a vested wrong, and that the poor of
the town have a vested right, if they only knew how to get at it: is
not that something the case here?"
Bold couldn't deny it, but thought it was one of those cases which
required a good deal of management before any real good could be done.
It was a pity that he had not considered this before he crept into the
lion's mouth, in the shape of an attorney's office.
"It will cost you a good deal, I fear," said Towers.
"A few hundreds," said Bold--"perhaps three hundred; I can't help
that, and am prepared for it."
"That's philosophical. It's quite refreshing to hear a man talking of
his hundreds in so purely indifferent a manner. But I'm sorry you are
giving the matter up. It injures a man to commence a thing of this
kind, and not carry it through. Have you seen that?" and he threw
a small pamphlet across the table, which was all but damp from the
Bold had not seen it nor heard of it; but he was well acquainted with
the author of it,--a gentleman whose pamphlets, condemnatory of all
things in these modern days, had been a good deal talked about of
Dr Pessimist Anticant was a Scotchman, who had passed a great portion
of his early days in Germany; he had studied there with much effect,
and had learnt to look with German subtilty into the root of things,
and to examine for himself their intrinsic worth and worthlessness.
No man ever resolved more bravely than he to accept as good nothing
that was evil; to banish from him as evil nothing that was good. 'Tis
a pity that he should not have recognised the fact, that in this world
no good is unalloyed, and that there is but little evil that has not
in it some seed of what is goodly.
Returning from Germany, he had astonished the reading public by the
vigour of his thoughts, put forth in the quaintest language. He
cannot write English, said the critics. No matter, said the public;
we can read what he does write, and that without yawning. And so Dr
Pessimist Anticant became popular. Popularity spoilt him for all
further real use, as it has done many another. While, with some
diffidence, he confined his objurgations to the occasional follies or
shortcomings of mankind; while he ridiculed the energy of the squire
devoted to the slaughter of partridges, or the mistake of some noble
patron who turned a poet into a gauger of beer-barrels, it was all
well; we were glad to be told our faults and to look forward to the
coming millennium, when all men, having sufficiently studied the works
of Dr Anticant, would become truthful and energetic. But the doctor
mistook the signs of the times and the minds of men, instituted
himself censor of things in general, and began the great task of
reprobating everything and everybody, without further promise of any
millennium at all. This was not so well; and, to tell the truth, our
author did not succeed in his undertaking. His theories were all
beautiful, and the code of morals that he taught us certainly an
improvement on the practices of the age. We all of us could, and many
of us did, learn much from the doctor while he chose to remain vague,
mysterious, and cloudy: but when he became practical, the charm was
His allusion to the poet and the partridges was received very well.
"Oh, my poor brother," said he, "slaughtered partridges a score of
brace to each gun, and poets gauging ale-barrels, with sixty pounds a
year, at Dumfries, are not the signs of a great era!--perhaps of the
smallest possible era yet written of. Whatever economies we pursue,
political or other, let us see at once that this is the maddest of the
uneconomic: partridges killed by our land magnates at, shall we say,
a guinea a head, to be retailed in Leadenhall at one shilling and
ninepence, with one poacher in limbo for every fifty birds! our poet,
maker, creator, gauging ale, and that badly, with no leisure for
making or creating, only a little leisure for drinking, and such like
beer-barrel avocations! Truly, a cutting of blocks with fine razors
while we scrape our chins so uncomfortably with rusty knives! Oh, my
political economist, master of supply and demand, division of labour
and high pressure--oh, my loud-speaking friend, tell me, if so much
be in you, what is the demand for poets in these kingdoms of Queen
Victoria, and what the vouchsafed supply?"
This was all very well: this gave us some hope. We might do better
with our next poet, when we got one; and though the partridges might
not be abandoned, something could perhaps be done as to the poachers.
We were unwilling, however, to take lessons in politics from so
misty a professor; and when he came to tell us that the heroes of
Westminster were naught, we began to think that he had written enough.
His attack upon despatch boxes was not thought to have much in it;
but as it is short, the doctor shall again be allowed to speak his
Could utmost ingenuity in the management of red tape avail
anything to men lying gasping,--we may say, all but dead;
could despatch boxes with never-so-much velvet lining and
Chubb's patent be of comfort to a people "in extremis", I
also, with so many others, would, with parched tongue, call
on the name of Lord John Russell; or, my brother, at your
advice, on Lord Aberdeen; or, my cousin, on Lord Derby, at
yours; being, with my parched tongue, indifferent to such
matters. 'Tis all one. Oh, Derby! Oh, Gladstone! Oh,
Palmerston! Oh, Lord John! Each comes running with serene
face and despatch box. Vain physicians! though there were
hosts of such, no despatch box will cure this disorder!
What! are there other doctors' new names, disciples who
have not burdened their souls with tape? Well, let us call
again. Oh, Disraeli, great oppositionist, man of the bitter
brow! or, Oh, Molesworth, great reformer, thou who promisest
Utopia. They come; each with that serene face, and each,--
alas, me! alas, my country!--each with a despatch box!
Oh, the serenity of Downing Street!
My brothers, when hope was over on the battle-field, when no
dimmest chance of victory remained, the ancient Roman could
hide his face within his toga, and die gracefully. Can you
and I do so now? If so, 'twere best for us; if not, oh my
brothers, we must die disgracefully, for hope of life and
victory I see none left to us in this world below. I for
one cannot trust much to serene face and despatch box!
There might be truth in this, there might be depth of reasoning;
but Englishmen did not see enough in the argument to induce them
to withdraw their confidence from the present arrangements of the
government, and Dr Anticant's monthly pamphlet on the decay of the
world did not receive so much attention as his earlier works. He did
not confine himself to politics in these publications, but roamed at
large over all matters of public interest, and found everything bad.
According to him nobody was true, and not only nobody, but nothing; a
man could not take off his hat to a lady without telling a lie;--the
lady would lie again in smiling. The ruffles of the gentleman's
shirt would be fraught with deceit, and the lady's flounces full of
falsehood. Was ever anything more severe than that attack of his on
chip bonnets, or the anathemas with which he endeavoured to dust the
powder out of the bishops' wigs?
The pamphlet which Tom Towers now pushed across the table was entitled
"Modern Charity," and was written with the view of proving how much in
the way of charity was done by our predecessors,--how little by the
present age; and it ended by a comparison between ancient and modern
times, very little to the credit of the latter.
"Look at this," said Towers, getting up and turning over the pages of
the pamphlet, and pointing to a passage near the end. "Your friend
the warden, who is so little selfish, won't like that, I fear." Bold
read as follows--
Heavens, what a sight! Let us with eyes wide open see the
godly man of four centuries since, the man of the dark ages;
let us see how he does his godlike work, and, again, how the
godly man of these latter days does his.
Shall we say that the former is one walking painfully
through the world, regarding, as a prudent man, his worldly
work, prospering in it as a diligent man will prosper, but
always with an eye to that better treasure to which thieves
do not creep in? Is there not much nobility in that old
man, as, leaning on his oaken staff, he walks down the High
Street of his native town, and receives from all courteous
salutation and acknowledgment of his worth? A noble old
man, my august inhabitants of Belgrave Square and such like
vicinity,--a very noble old man, though employed no better
than in the wholesale carding of wool.
This carding of wool, however, did in those days bring with
it much profit, so that our ancient friend, when dying,
was declared, in whatever slang then prevailed, to cut up
exceeding well. For sons and daughters there was ample
sustenance with assistance of due industry; for friends and
relatives some relief for grief at this great loss; for aged
dependents comfort in declining years. This was much for
one old man to get done in that dark fifteenth century. But
this was not all: coming generations of poor wool-carders
should bless the name of this rich one; and a hospital
should be founded and endowed with his wealth for the
feeding of such of the trade as could not, by diligent
carding, any longer duly feed themselves.
'Twas thus that an old man in the fifteenth century did his
godlike work to the best of his power, and not ignobly, as
appears to me.
We will now take our godly man of latter days. He shall no
longer be a wool-carder, for such are not now men of mark.
We will suppose him to be one of the best of the good, one
who has lacked no opportunities. Our old friend was, after
all, but illiterate; our modern friend shall be a man
educated in all seemly knowledge; he shall, in short, be
that blessed being,--a clergyman of the Church of England!
And now, in what perfectest manner does he in this lower
world get his godlike work done and put out of hand?
Heavens! in the strangest of manners. Oh, my brother! in a
manner not at all to be believed, but by the most minute
testimony of eyesight. He does it by the magnitude of his
appetite,--by the power of his gorge; his only occupation is
to swallow the bread prepared with so much anxious care for
these impoverished carders of wool,--that, and to sing
indifferently through his nose once in the week some psalm
more or less long,--the shorter the better, we should be
inclined to say.
Oh, my civilised friends!--great Britons that never will be
slaves, men advanced to infinite state of freedom and
knowledge of good and evil;--tell me, will you, what
becoming monument you will erect to an highly-educated
clergyman of the Church of England?
Bold certainly thought that his friend would not like that: he could
not conceive anything that he would like less than this. To what a
world of toil and trouble had he, Bold, given rise by his indiscreet
attack upon the hospital!
"You see," said Towers, "that this affair has been much talked of, and
the public are with you. I am sorry you should give the matter up.
Have you seen the first number of 'The Almshouse'?"
No; Bold had not seen "The Almshouse." He had seen advertisements
of Mr Popular Sentiment's new novel of that name, but had in no way
connected it with Barchester Hospital, and had never thought a moment
on the subject.
"It's a direct attack on the whole system," said Towers. "It'll go
a long way to put down Rochester, and Barchester, and Dulwich, and
St Cross, and all such hotbeds of peculation. It's very clear that
Sentiment has been down to Barchester, and got up the whole story
there; indeed, I thought he must have had it all from you; it's very
well done, as you'll see: his first numbers always are."
Bold declared that Mr Sentiment had got nothing from him, and that he
was deeply grieved to find that the case had become so notorious.
"The fire has gone too far to be quenched," said Towers; "the building
must go now; and as the timbers are all rotten, why, I should be
inclined to say, the sooner the better. I expected to see you get
some "éclat" in the matter."
This was all wormwood to Bold. He had done enough to make his friend
the warden miserable for life, and had then backed out just when the
success of his project was sufficient to make the question one of real
interest. How weakly he had managed his business! he had already
done the harm, and then stayed his hand when the good which he had in
view was to be commenced. How delightful would it have been to have
employed all his energy in such a cause,--to have been backed by "The
Jupiter", and written up to by two of the most popular authors of the
day! The idea opened a view into the very world in which he wished
to live. To what might it not have given rise? what delightful
intimacies,--what public praise,--to what Athenian banquets and rich
flavour of Attic salt?
This, however, was now past hope. He had pledged himself to abandon
the cause; and could he have forgotten the pledge, he had gone too far
to retreat. He was now, this moment, sitting in Tom Towers' room with
the object of deprecating any further articles in "The Jupiter", and,
greatly as he disliked the job, his petition to that effect must be
"I couldn't continue it," said he, "because I found I was in the
Tom Towers shrugged his shoulders. How could a successful man be in
the wrong! "In that case," said he, "of course you must abandon it."
"And I called this morning to ask you also to abandon it," said Bold.
"To ask me," said Tom Towers, with the most placid of smiles, and a
consummate look of gentle surprise, as though Tom Towers was well
aware that he of all men was the last to meddle in such matters.
"Yes," said Bold, almost trembling with hesitation. ""The Jupiter",
you know, has taken the matter up very strongly. Mr Harding has felt
what it has said deeply; and I thought that if I could explain to you
that he personally has not been to blame, these articles might be
How calmly impassive was Tom Towers' face, as this innocent little
proposition was made! Had Bold addressed himself to the doorposts in
Mount Olympus, they would have shown as much outward sign of assent or
dissent. His quiescence was quite admirable; his discretion certainly
more than human.
"My dear fellow," said he, when Bold had quite done speaking, "I
really cannot answer for "The Jupiter"."
"But if you saw that these articles were unjust, I think that You
would endeavour to put a stop to them. Of course nobody doubts that
you could, if you chose."
"Nobody and everybody are always very kind, but unfortunately are
generally very wrong."
"Come, come, Towers," said Bold, plucking up his courage, and
remembering that for Eleanor's sake he was bound to make his best
exertion; "I have no doubt in my own mind but that you wrote the
articles yourself, and very well written they were: it will be a great
favour if you will in future abstain from any personal allusion to
"My dear Bold," said Tom Towers, "I have a sincere regard for you.
I have known you for many years, and value your friendship; I hope
you will let me explain to you, without offence, that none who
are connected with the public press can with propriety listen to
"Interference!" said Bold, "I don't want to interfere."
"Ah, but, my dear fellow, you do; what else is it? You think that I
am able to keep certain remarks out of a newspaper. Your information
is probably incorrect, as most public gossip on such subjects is; but,
at any rate, you think I have such power, and you ask me to use it:
now that is interference."
"Well, if you choose to call it so."
"And now suppose for a moment that I had this power, and used it as
you wish: isn't it clear that it would be a great abuse? Certain men
are employed in writing for the public press; and if they are induced
either to write or to abstain from writing by private motives,
surely the public press would soon be of little value. Look at the
recognised worth of different newspapers, and see if it does not
mainly depend on the assurance which the public feel that such a paper
is, or is not, independent. You alluded to "The Jupiter": surely you
cannot but see that the weight of "The Jupiter" is too great to be
moved by any private request, even though it should be made to a much
more influential person than myself: you've only to think of this, and
you'll see that I am right."
The discretion of Tom Towers was boundless: there was no contradicting
what he said, no arguing against such propositions. He took such high
ground that there was no getting on to it. "The public is defrauded,"
said he, "whenever private considerations are allowed to have weight."
Quite true, thou greatest oracle of the middle of the nineteenth
century, thou sententious proclaimer of the purity of the press;--the
public is defrauded when it is purposely misled. Poor public! how
often is it misled! against what a world of fraud has it to contend!
Bold took his leave, and got out of the room as quickly as he could,
inwardly denouncing his friend Tom Towers as a prig and a humbug. "I
know he wrote those articles," said Bold to himself. "I know he got
his information from me. He was ready enough to take my word for
gospel when it suited his own views, and to set Mr Harding up before
the public as an impostor on no other testimony than my chance
conversation; but when I offer him real evidence opposed to his own
views, he tells me that private motives are detrimental to public
justice! Confound his arrogance! What is any public question but a
conglomeration of private interests? What is any newspaper article
but an expression of the views taken by one side? Truth! it takes an
age to ascertain the truth of any question! The idea of Tom Towers
talking of public motives and purity of purpose! Why, it wouldn't
give him a moment's uneasiness to change his politics to-morrow, if
the paper required it."
Such were John Bold's inward exclamations as he made his way out of
the quiet labyrinth of the Temple; and yet there was no position of
worldly power so coveted in Bold's ambition as that held by the man of
whom he was thinking. It was the impregnability of the place which
made Bold so angry with the possessor of it, and it was the same
quality which made it appear so desirable.
Passing into the Strand, he saw in a bookseller's window an
announcement of the first number of "The Almshouse;" so he purchased a
copy, and hurrying back to his lodgings, proceeded to ascertain what
Mr Popular Sentiment had to say to the public on the subject which had
lately occupied so much of his own attention.
In former times great objects were attained by great work. When evils
were to be reformed, reformers set about their heavy task with grave
decorum and laborious argument. An age was occupied in proving a
grievance, and philosophical researches were printed in folio pages,
which it took a life to write, and an eternity to read. We get on
now with a lighter step, and quicker: ridicule is found to be more
convincing than argument, imaginary agonies touch more than true
sorrows, and monthly novels convince, when learned quartos fail to
do so. If the world is to be set right, the work will be done by
Of all such reformers Mr Sentiment is the most powerful. It is
incredible the number of evil practices he has put down: it is to
be feared he will soon lack subjects, and that when he has made the
working classes comfortable, and got bitter beer put into proper-sized
pint bottles, there will be nothing further for him left to do. Mr
Sentiment is certainly a very powerful man, and perhaps not the less
so that his good poor people are so very good; his hard rich people
so very hard; and the genuinely honest so very honest. Namby-pamby
in these days is not thrown away if it be introduced in the proper
quarters. Divine peeresses are no longer interesting, though
possessed of every virtue; but a pattern peasant or an immaculate
manufacturing hero may talk as much twaddle as one of Mrs Ratcliffe's
heroines, and still be listened to. Perhaps, however, Mr Sentiment's
great attraction is in his second-rate characters. If his heroes and
heroines walk upon stilts, as heroes and heroines, I fear, ever must,
their attendant satellites are as natural as though one met them in
the street: they walk and talk like men and women, and live among our
friends a rattling, lively life; yes, live, and will live till the
names of their calling shall be forgotten in their own, and Buckett
and Mrs Gamp will be the only words left to us to signify a detective
police officer or a monthly nurse.
"The Almshouse" opened with a scene in a clergyman's house. Every
luxury to be purchased by wealth was described as being there: all the
appearances of household indulgence generally found amongst the most
self-indulgent of the rich were crowded into this abode. Here the
reader was introduced to the demon of the book, the Mephistopheles of
the drama. What story was ever written without a demon? What novel,
what history, what work of any sort, what world, would be perfect
without existing principles both of good and evil? The demon of "The
Almshouse" was the clerical owner of this comfortable abode. He was
a man well stricken in years, but still strong to do evil: he was one
who looked cruelly out of a hot, passionate, bloodshot eye; who had a
huge red nose with a carbuncle, thick lips, and a great double, flabby
chin, which swelled out into solid substance, like a turkey-cock's
comb, when sudden anger inspired him: he had a hot, furrowed, low
brow, from which a few grizzled hairs were not yet rubbed off by
the friction of his handkerchief: he wore a loose unstarched white
handkerchief, black loose ill-made clothes, and huge loose shoes,
adapted to many corns and various bunions: his husky voice told
tales of much daily port wine, and his language was not so decorous
as became a clergyman. Such was the master of Mr Sentiment's
"Almshouse." He was a widower, but at present accompanied by two
daughters, and a thin and somewhat insipid curate. One of the young
ladies was devoted to her father and the fashionable world, and she of
course was the favourite; the other was equally addicted to Puseyism
and the curate.
The second chapter of course introduced the reader to the more
especial inmates of the hospital. Here were discovered eight old
men; and it was given to be understood that four vacancies remained
unfilled, through the perverse ill-nature of the clerical gentleman
with the double chin. The state of these eight paupers was touchingly
dreadful: sixpence-farthing a day had been sufficient for their diet
when the almshouse was founded; and on sixpence-farthing a day were
they still doomed to starve, though food was four times as dear,
and money four times as plentiful. It was shocking to find how the
conversation of these eight starved old men in their dormitory shamed
that of the clergyman's family in his rich drawing-room. The absolute
words they uttered were not perhaps spoken in the purest English, and
it might be difficult to distinguish from their dialect to what part
of the country they belonged; the beauty of the sentiment, however,
amply atoned for the imperfection of the language; and it was really a
pity that these eight old men could not be sent through the country as
moral missionaries, instead of being immured and starved in that
Bold finished the number; and as he threw it aside, he thought that
that at least had no direct appliance to Mr Harding, and that the
absurdly strong colouring of the picture would disenable the work from
doing either good or harm. He was wrong. The artist who paints for
the million must use glaring colours, as no one knew better than Mr
Sentiment when he described the inhabitants of his almshouse; and the
radical reform which has now swept over such establishments has owed
more to the twenty numbers of Mr Sentiment's novel, than to all the
true complaints which have escaped from the public for the last half
A LONG DAY IN LONDON
The warden had to make use of all his very moderate powers of intrigue
to give his son-in-law the slip, and get out of Barchester without
being stopped on his road. No schoolboy ever ran away from school
with more precaution and more dread of detection; no convict, slipping
down from a prison wall, ever feared to see the gaoler more entirely
than Mr Harding did to see his son-in-law as he drove up in the pony
carriage to the railway station, on the morning of his escape to
The evening before he went he wrote a note to the archdeacon,
explaining that he should start on the morrow on his journey; that
it was his intention to see the attorney-general if possible, and to
decide on his future plans in accordance with what he heard from that
gentleman; he excused himself for giving Dr Grantly no earlier notice,
by stating that his resolve was very sudden; and having entrusted this
note to Eleanor, with the perfect, though not expressed, understanding
that it was to be sent over to Plumstead Episcopi without haste, he
took his departure.
He also prepared and carried with him a note for Sir Abraham
Haphazard, in which he stated his name, explaining that he was the
defendant in the case of "The Queen on behalf of the Wool-carders of
Barchester "v". Trustees under the will of the late John Hiram," for
so was the suit denominated, and begged the illustrious and learned
gentleman to vouchsafe to him ten minutes' audience at any hour on the
next day. Mr Harding calculated that for that one day he was safe;
his son-in-law, he had no doubt, would arrive in town by an early
train, but not early enough to reach the truant till he should have
escaped from his hotel after breakfast; and could he thus manage to
see the lawyer on that very day, the deed might be done before the
archdeacon could interfere.
On his arrival in town the warden drove, as was his wont, to the
Chapter Hotel and Coffee House, near St Paul's. His visits to London
of late had not been frequent; but in those happy days when "Harding's
Church Music" was going through the press, he had been often there;
and as the publisher's house was in Paternoster Row, and the printer's
press in Fleet Street, the Chapter Hotel and Coffee House had been
convenient. It was a quiet, sombre, clerical house, beseeming such
a man as the warden, and thus he afterwards frequented it. Had he
dared, he would on this occasion have gone elsewhere to throw the
archdeacon further off the scent; but he did not know what violent
steps his son-in-law might take for his recovery if he were not found
at his usual haunt, and he deemed it not prudent to make himself the
object of a hunt through London.
Arrived at his inn, he ordered dinner, and went forth to the
attorney-general's chambers. There he learnt that Sir Abraham was in
Court, and would not probably return that day. He would go direct
from Court to the House; all appointments were, as a rule, made at the
chambers; the clerk could by no means promise an interview for the
next day; was able, on the other hand, to say that such interview was,
he thought, impossible; but that Sir Abraham would certainly be at the
House in the course of the night, where an answer from himself might
possibly be elicited.
To the House Mr Harding went, and left his note, not finding Sir
Abraham there. He added a most piteous entreaty that he might be
favoured with an answer that evening, for which he would return. He
then journeyed back sadly to the Chapter Coffee House, digesting his
great thoughts, as best he might, in a clattering omnibus, wedged in
between a wet old lady and a journeyman glazier returning from his
work with his tools in his lap. In melancholy solitude he discussed
his mutton chop and pint of port. What is there in this world more
melancholy than such a dinner? A dinner, though eaten alone, in a
country hotel may be worthy of some energy; the waiter, if you are
known, will make much of you; the landlord will make you a bow and
perhaps put the fish on the table; if you ring you are attended to,
and there is some life about it. A dinner at a London eating-house is
also lively enough, if it have no other attraction. There is plenty
of noise and stir about it, and the rapid whirl of voices and rattle
of dishes disperses sadness. But a solitary dinner in an old,
respectable, sombre, solid London inn, where nothing makes any noise
but the old waiter's creaking shoes; where one plate slowly goes and
another slowly comes without a sound; where the two or three guests
would as soon think of knocking each other down as of speaking; where
the servants whisper, and the whole household is disturbed if an order
be given above the voice,--what can be more melancholy than a mutton
chop and a pint of port in such a place?
Having gone through this Mr Harding got into another omnibus, and
again returned to the House. Yes, Sir Abraham was there, and was
that moment on his legs, fighting eagerly for the hundred and seventh
clause of the Convent Custody Bill. Mr Harding's note had been
delivered to him; and if Mr Harding would wait some two or three
hours, Sir Abraham could be asked whether there was any answer.
The House was not full, and perhaps Mr Harding might get admittance
into the Strangers' Gallery, which admission, with the help of five
shillings, Mr Harding was able to effect.
This bill of Sir Abraham's had been read a second time and passed into
committee. A hundred and six clauses had already been discussed and
had occupied only four mornings and five evening sittings; nine of
the hundred and six clauses were passed, fifty-five were withdrawn
by consent, fourteen had been altered so as to mean the reverse of
the original proposition, eleven had been postponed for further
consideration, and seventeen had been directly negatived. The hundred
and seventh ordered the bodily searching of nuns for jesuitical
symbols by aged clergymen, and was considered to be the real mainstay
of the whole bill. No intention had ever existed to pass such a law
as that proposed, but the government did not intend to abandon it
till their object was fully attained by the discussion of this clause.
It was known that it would be insisted on with terrible vehemence by
Protestant Irish members, and as vehemently deno
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