‘Is that what Miss Dale requires?’ said Mrs Arabin.
‘I was not thinking about her particularly,’ said Johnny, lying.
They slept a night at Paris, as they had done also at Turin—Mrs Arabin not finding herself able to accomplish such marvels in the way of travelling as her companion had achieved—and then arrived in London in the evening. She was taken to a certain quiet clerical hotel at the top of Suffolk Street, much patronised by bishops and deans of the better sort, expecting to find a message there from her husband. And there was the message—just arrived. The dean had reached Florence three days after her departure; and as he would do the journey home in twenty-four hours less than she had taken, he would be there, at the hotel, on the day after tomorrow. ‘I suppose I may wait for him, Mr Eames?’ said Mrs Arabin.
’I will see Mr Toogood tonight, and I will call here tomorrow, whether I see him or not. At what hour will you be in?’
’Don’t trouble yourself to do that. You must take care of Sir Raffle Buffle, you know.’
’I shan’t go near Sir Raffle Buffle tomorrow, nor yet the next day. You mustn’t suppose that I am afraid of Sir Raffle Buffle.’
‘You are only afraid of Lily Dale.’ From all which it may be seen that Mrs Arabin and John Eames had become very intimate on their way home.
It was then arranged that he should call on Mr Toogood that same night or early next morning, and that he should come to the hotel at twelve o’clock on the next day. Going along one of the passages he passed two gentlemen in shovel hats, with very black new coats and knee-breeches; and Johnny could not but hear a few words which one clerical gentleman said to the other. ’She was a woman of great energy, of wonderful spirit, but a firebrand, my lord—a complete firebrand!’ Then Johnny knew that the Dean of A was talking to the Bishop of B about the late Mrs Proudie.
MR TOOGOOD AT SILVERBRIDGE
We will now go back to Mr Toogood as he started for Silverbridge, on the receipt of Mrs Arabin’s telegram from Venice. ’I gave cheque to Mr Crawley. It was part of a sum of money. Will write to Archdeacon Grantly today, and return home at once.’ That was the telegram which Mr Toogood received at his office, and on receiving which he resolved that he must start to Barchester immediately. ’It isn’t certainly what you would call a paying business,’ he said to his partner, who continued to grumble; ’but it must be done all the same. If it don’t get into the ledger in one way it will in another.’ So Mr Toogood started for Silverbridge, having sent to his house in Tavistock Square for a small bag, a clean shirt, and a toothbrush. And as he went down to the railway-carriage, before he went to sleep, he turned it all over in his mind. ’Poor devil! I wonder whether any man suffered so much before. And as for that woman—it’s ten thousand pities that she should have died before she heard it. Talk of heart-complaint!; she’d have had a touch of heart-complaint if she had known this!’ Then, as he was speculating how Mrs Arabin could have come possessed of the cheque he went to sleep.