’I have nothing to say to him—nothing; not a word. He knows what he has to expect from me, for I have told him. He is acting with his eyes open, and so am I. If he married Miss Crawley, he must live on his own means. I told him that so plainly, that he can want no further intimation.’ Then Mrs Grantly knew that she was absolved from the burden of yesterday’s message, and she plumed herself on the prudence of her conduct. On the same morning the archdeacon wrote the following note:—
’My man tells me that foxes have been trapped on
Darvell’s farm, just outside the coppices. I know
nothing of it myself, but I am sure you’ll look to it.
MRS PROUDIE SENDS FOR HER LAWYER
There was great dismay in Barchester Palace after the visit paid to the bishop and Mrs Proudie by that terrible clerical offender, Mr Crawley. It will be remembered, perhaps, how he had defied the bishop with spoken words, and how he had defied the bishop’s wife by speaking words to her. For the moment, no doubt, Mr Crawley had the best of it. Mrs Proudie acknowledged to herself that this was the case; but as she was a woman who had never yet succumbed to an enemy, who had never—if on such an occasion I may be allowed to use a schoolboy’s slang—taken a licking from anyone, it was not likely that Mr Crawley would be allowed to enjoy his triumph in peace. It would be odd if all the weight of the palace would not be able to silence a wretch of a perpetual curate who had already been committed to take his trial for thieving;—and Mrs Proudie was determined that all the weight of the palace should be used. As for the bishop, though he was not as angry as his wife, he was quite unhappy, and therefore quite as hostile to Mr Crawley; and was fully conscious that there could be no peace for him now until Mr Crawley should be crushed. If only the assizes would come at once, and get him condemned out of the way, what a blessed thing it would be! But unluckily it still wanted three months to the assizes, and during those three months Mr Crawley would be at large and subject only to the episcopal authority. During that time he could not be silenced by the arm of the civil law. His wife was not long in expressing her opinion after Mr Crawley had left the palace. ’You must proceed against him in the Court of Arches—and that at once,’ said Mrs Proudie. ’You can do that, of course? I know that it will be expensive. Of course it will be expensive. I suppose it may cost us some three hundred pounds; but duty is duty, my lord, and in such a case as this your duty as a bishop is paramount.’