Mrs Crawley might probably have been more instant in her efforts to stop the letter, had she not felt that it would not decide everything. In the first place it was improbable that the letter might not reach the dean till after his return home—and Mrs Crawley had long since made up her mind that she would see the dean as soon as possible after his return. She had heard from Lady Lufton that it was not doubted in Barchester that he would be back at any rate before the judges came into the city. And then, in the next place, was it probable that the dean would act upon such a letter by filling up the vacancy, even if he did get it? She trusted in the dean, and knew that he would help them, if any help were possible. Should the verdict go against her husband, then indeed it might be that no help would be possible. In such case she thought that the bishop with his commission might prevail. But she still believed that the verdict would be favourable, if not with an assured belief, still with a hope that was sufficient to stand in lieu of a belief. No single man, let alone no twelve men, could think that her husband had intended to appropriate the money dishonestly. That he had taken it improperly—without real possession—she herself believed; but he had not taken it as a thief, and could not merit a thief’s punishment. After two days he got a reply from the bishop’s chaplain, in which the chaplain expressed the bishop’s commendation of Mr Crawley’s present conduct. ’Mr Thumble shall proceed from hence to Hogglestock on next Sunday,’ said the chaplain, ’and shall relieve you for the present from the burden of your duties. As to the future status of the parish, it will perhaps be best that nothing shall be done till the dean returns —or perhaps till the assizes shall be over. This is the bishop’s opinion.’ It need hardly be explained that the promised visit of Mr Thumble to Hogglestock was gall and wormwood to Mr Crawley. He had told the dean that should Mr Thumble come, he would endeavour to learn something even from him. But it may be doubted whether Mr Crawley in his present mood could learn anything useful from Mr Thumble. Giles Hoggett was a much more effective teacher.
‘I will endure even that,’ he said to his wife, as she handed to him back the letter from the bishop’s chaplain.
TWO VISITORS TO HOGGLESTOCK
The cross-grainedness of men is so great that things will often be forced to go wrong, even when they have the strongest possible natural tendency of their own to go right. It was now in these affairs between the archdeacon and his son. The original difficulty was solved by the good feeling of the young lady—by that and by the real kindness of the archdeacon’s nature. They had come to terms which were satisfactory to both of them, and those terms admitted of perfect reconciliation between the father and his son.