‘Yes,’ said he; ’yes; that is the question. Where did it come from?’—and he turned sharp upon her, looking at her with all the power of his eyes. ’It is because I cannot tell you where it came from that I ought to be—either in Bedlam, as a madman, or in the county gaol as a thief.’ The words were so dreadful to her that she could not utter at the moment another syllable. ’How is a man—to think himself—fit—for a man’s work, when he cannot answer his wife such a plain question as that?’ Then he paused again. ’They should take me to Bedlam at once—at once—at once. That would not disgrace the children as the gaol will do.’
Mrs Crawley could ask no further questions on that evening.
WHAT MR WALKER THOUGHT ABOUT IT
It had been suggested to Mr Robarts, that parson at Framley, that he should endeavour to induce his old acquaintance, Mr Crawley, to employ a lawyer to defend him at his trial, and Mr Robarts had not forgotten the commission which he had undertaken. But there were difficulties in the matter of which he was well aware. In the first place Mr Crawley was a man whom it had not at any time been easy to advise on matters private to himself; and in the next place, this was a matter on which it was very hard to speak to the man implicated, let him be who he would. Mr Robarts had come round to the generally accepted idea that Mr Crawley had obtained possession of the cheque illegally—acquitting his friend in his own mind of theft, simply by supposing that he was wool-gathering when the cheque came in his way. But in speaking to Mr Crawley, it would be necessary—so he thought—to pretend a conviction that Mr Crawley was as innocent in fact as in intention.
He had almost made up his mind to dash at the subject when he met Mr Crawley walking through Framley to Barchester, but he had abstained chiefly because Mr Crawley had been too quick for him, and had got away. After that he resolved that it would be almost useless for him to go to work unless he should be provided with a lawyer ready and willing to undertake the task; and as he was not so provided at present, he made up his mind that he would go into Silverbridge, and see Mr Walker, the attorney there. Mr Walker always advised everybody in those parts about everything, and would be sure to know what would be the proper thing to be done in this case. So Mr Robarts got into his gig, and drove himself into Silverbridge, passing very close to Mr Crawley’s house on his road. He drove at once to Mr Walker’s office, and on arriving there found that the attorney was not at that moment within. But Mr Winthrop was within. Would Mr Robarts see Mr Winthrop? Now, seeing Mr Winthrop was a very different thing from seeing Mr Walker, although the two gentlemen were partners. But still Mr Robarts said that he would see Mr Winthrop. Perhaps Mr Walker might return while he was there.