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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,014 pages of information about The Last Chronicle of Barset.

CHAPTER XLIX

NEAR THE CLOSE

I wonder whether anyone will read these pages who has never known anything of the bitterness of a family quarrel?  If so, I shall have a reader very fortunate, or else very cold-blooded.  It would be wrong to say that love produces quarrels; but love does produce those intimate relations of which quarrelling is too often one of the consequences—­one of the consequences which frequently seem to be so natural, and sometimes seem to be unavoidable.  One brother rebukes the other—­and what brothers ever lived together between whom there is no such rebuking?—­then some warm word is misunderstood and hotter words follow and there is a quarrel.  The husband tyrannizes, knowing that it is his duty to direct, and the wife disobeys, or only partially obeys, thinking that a little independence will become her—­and so there is a quarrel.  The father, anxious only for his son’s good, looks into that son’s future with other eyes than those of his son himself—­and so there is a quarrel.  They come very easily these quarrels, but the quittance from them is sometimes terribly difficult.  Much of thought is necessary before the angry man can remember that he too in part may have been wrong; and any attempt at such thinking is almost beyond the power of him who is carefully nursing his wrath, let it cool!  But the nursing of such quarrelling kills all happiness.  The very man who is nursing his wrath lest it cool—­his wrath against one whom he loves perhaps the best of all whom it has been given to him to love—­is himself wretched as long as it lasts.  His anger poisons every pleasure of his life.  He is sullen at his meals, and cannot understand his book as he turns the pages.  His work, let it be what it may, is ill done.  He is full of his quarrel—­nursing it.  He is telling himself how much he has loved that wicked one, and that now that wicked one is repaying him simply with wickedness!  And yet the wicked one is at that very moment dearer to him than ever.  If that wicked one would only be forgiven how sweet would be the world again!  And yet he nurses his wrath.

So it was in these days with Archdeacon Grantly.  He was very angry with his son.  It is hardly too much to say that in every moment of his life, whether waking or sleeping, he was thinking of the injury his son was doing him.  He had almost come to forget the fact that his anger had been first roused by the feeling that his son was about to do himself an injury—­to cut his own throat.  Various other considerations had now added themselves to that, and filled not only his mind but his daily conversation with his wife.  How terrible would be the disgrace to Lord Hartletop, how incurable the injury to Griselda, the marchioness, should the brother-in-law of the one, and the brother of the other, marry the daughter of a convicted thief!  Of himself he would say nothing.  So he declared constantly, though of

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