‘Oh, Conway, what am I to do? What am I to do?’ said Mrs Dobbs Broughton. Dalrymple stood perplexed for a few minutes, and could not tell her what she was to do. She was in such a position that it was very hard to tell her what she was to do. ’Do you believe, Conway, that he is really ruined?’
‘What am I to say? How am I to know?’
‘I see that you believe it,’ said the wretched woman.
’I cannot but believe that there is something of truth in what this woman says. Why else should she come here with such a story?’ Then there was a pause, during which Mrs Broughton was burying her face on the arm of the sofa. ‘I’ll tell you what I’ll do,’ continued he. ’I’ll go into the City and make inquiry. It can hardly be but what I shall learn the truth there.’
Then there was another pause, at the end of which Mrs Broughton got up from the sofa.
‘Tell me,’ said she:—’what do you mean about that girl?’
‘You heard me ask her to be my wife?’
‘I did! I did!’
‘Is it not what you intended?’
’Do not ask me. My mind is bewildered. My brain is on fire! Oh, Conway!’
‘Shall I go into the City as I proposed?’ said Dalrymple, who felt that he might at any rate improve the position of circumstances by leaving the house.
’Yes;—yes; go into the City! Go anywhere. Go. But stay! Oh, Conway!’ There was a sudden change in her voice as she spoke. ‘Hark—there he is, as sure as life.’ Then Conway listened, and heard a footstep on the stairs, as to which he had then but little doubt that it was the footstep of Dobbs Broughton. ‘O heavens! He is tipsy!’ exclaimed Mrs Broughton; ‘and what shall we do?’ Then Dalrymple took her hand and pressed it; and left the room, so that he might meet the husband on the stairs. In the one moment that he had for reflection he thought it was better that there should be no concealment.
‘It’s dogged as does it’
In accordance with the resolution to which the clerical commission had come on the first day of their sitting, Dr Tempest wrote the following letter to Mr Crawley:-
’Rectory, Silverbridge, April, 9,
’I have been given to understand that you have been informed that the Bishop of Barchester has appointed a commission of clergymen of the diocese to make inquiry respecting certain accusations which, to the great regret of us all, have been made against you, in respect of a cheque for twenty pounds which was passed by you to a tradesman of the town. The clergymen appointed to form this commission are Mr Oriel, the rector of Greshamsbury, Mr Robarts, the vicar of Framley, Mr Quiverful, the warden of Hiram’s Hospital at Barchester, and Mr Thumble, a clergyman established in that city, and myself. We held our first meeting on last Monday, and I now write to you in compliance with a resolution to which we came. Before taking any other steps we thought it best to ask you to attend us here on next Monday, at two o’clock, and I beg that you will accept this letter as an invitation to that effect.