THE BISHOP OF BARCHESTER IS CRUSHED
Who inquires why it is that a little greased flour rubbed in among the hair on a footman’s head—just one dab here and another there—gives such a tone of high life to the family? And seeing that the thing is so easily done, why do not more people attempt it? The tax on hair powder is but thirteen shillings a year. It may, indeed, be that the slightest dab in the world justifies the wearer in demanding hot meat three times a day, and wine at any rate on Sundays. I think, however, that a bishop’s wife may enjoy the privilege without such heavy attendant expense; otherwise the man who opened the bishop’s door to Mr Crawley would hardly have been so ornamental.
The man asked for a card. ‘My name is Mr Crawley,’ said our friend. ’The bishop desired me to come to him at this hour. Will you be pleased to tell him that I am here.’ The man again asked for a card. ’I am not bound to carry with me my name printed on a ticket,’ said Mr Crawley. ’If you cannot remember it, give me a pencil and paper, and I will write it.’ The servant, somewhat awed by the stranger’s manner, brought pen and paper, and Mr Crawley wrote his name:—
’The Rev Joshua Crawley,
Perpetual Curate of Hogglestock’
He was then ushered into a waiting-room, but, to his disappointment, was not kept there waiting long. Within three minutes he was ushered into the bishop’s study, and into the presence of the two great luminaries of the diocese. He was at first somewhat disconcerted by finding Mrs Proudie in the room. In the imaginary conversation with the bishop which he had been preparing on the road, he had conceived that the bishop would be attended by a chaplain, and he had suited his words to the joint discomfiture of the bishop and of the lower clergyman;—but now the line of his battle must be altered. This was no doubt an injury, but he trusted to his courage and readiness to enable him to surmount it. He had left his hat behind him in the waiting room, but he kept his old short cloak still upon his shoulders; and when he entered the bishop’s room his hands and arms were hid beneath it. There was something lowly in this constrained gait. It showed at least that he had no idea of being asked to shake hands with the august