On the afternoon of the next day, Mrs Baxter wrote another letter, in which she told Mrs Grantly that her father had declared, at his usual hour of rising that morning, that he was not going to the cathedral, he would, he thought, lie in bed a little longer. And then he had been in bed the whole day. ’And perhaps, honoured madam, looking at all things, it’s best as he should,’ said Mrs Baxter.
LADY LUFTON’S PROPOSITION
It was now known throughout Barchester that a commission was to be held by the bishop’s orders, at which inquiry would be made—that is, ecclesiastical inquiry—as to the guilt imputed to Mr Crawley in the matter of Mr Soames’s cheque. Sundry rumours had gone abroad as to quarrels which had taken place on the subject among certain clergymen high in office; but these were simply rumours, and nothing was in truth known. There was no more discreet clergyman in the diocese than Dr Tempest, and not a word had escaped from him as to the stormy nature of that meeting in the bishop’s palace, at which he had attended with the bishop—and at which Mrs Proudie had attended also. When it is said that the fact of this coming commission was known to all Barsetshire, allusion is of course made to that portion of the inhabitants of Barsetshire to which clerical matters were dear;—and as such matters were specially dear to the inhabitants of the parish of Framley, the commission was discussed very eagerly in that parish, and was specially discussed by the Dowager Lady Lufton.
And there was a double interest attached to the commission in the parish of Framley by the fact that Mr Robarts, the vicar, had been invited by Dr Tempest to be one of the clergymen who were to assist in making the inquiry. ‘I also to propose to ask Mr Oriel of Greshambury to join us,’ said Dr Tempest. ’The bishop wishes to appoint the other two, and has already named Mr Thumble and Mr Quiverful, who are both residents in the city. Perhaps his lordship may be right in thinking it better that the matter should not be left altogether in the hands of clergymen who hold livings in the diocese. You are no doubt aware that neither Mr Thumble nor Mr Quiverful do hold any benefice.’ Mr Robarts felt—as everybody else did feel who knew anything of the matter—that Bishop Proudie was singularly ignorant of his knowledge of men, and that he showed his ignorance on this special occasion. ’If he intended to name two such men he should at any rate have named three,’ said Dr Thorne. ’Mr Thumble and Mr Quiverful will simply be outvoted on the first day, and after that will give in their adhesion to the majority.’ ‘Mr Thumble indeed!’ Lady Lufton had said, with much scorn in her voice. To her thinking, it was absurd in the highest degree that such men as Dr Tempest and her Mr Robarts should be asked to meet Mr Thumble and Mr Quiverful on a matter of ecclesiastical business.