The Last Chronicle of Barset eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,290 pages of information about The Last Chronicle of Barset.

’But not the opinion of Mrs Van.  The bird told me another thing, Conway.’

‘What other thing?’

’The bird hinted that all this would end in your marrying the widow of that poor wretch who destroyed himself.’

‘Johnny, my boy,’ said the artist after a moment’s silence, ’if I give you a bit of advice, will you profit by it?’

‘I’ll try, if it’s not disagreeable.’

’Whether you profit by it, or whether not, keep it to yourself.  I know the bird better than you do, and I strongly caution you to beware of the bird.  The bird is a bird of prey, and altogether an unclean bird.  The bird wants a mate, and doesn’t much care how she gets it.  And the bird wants money, and doesn’t care how she gets it.  The bird is a decidedly bad bird, and not at all fit to take the place of domestic hen in a decent farmyard.  In plain English, Johnny, you’ll find some day, if you go over to often to Porchester Terrace, either that you are going to marry the bird, or else that you are employing your cousin Toogood for you defence in an action for breach of promise, brought against you by that venerable old bird, the bird’s mamma.’

‘If it’s to be either, it will be the latter,’ said Johnny, as he took up his hat to go away.



Mrs Arabin remained one day in town.  Mr Toogood in spite of his asseveration that he would not budge from Barchester till he had seen Mr Crawley through all his troubles, did run up to London as soon as the news reached him that John Eames had returned.  He came up and took Mrs Arabin’s deposition, which he sent down to Mr Walker.  It might still be necessary, Mrs Arabin was told, that she should go into court, and there state on oath that she had given the cheque to Mr Crawley; but Mr Walker was of the opinion that the circumstances would enable the judge to call upon the grand jury not to find a true bill against Mr Crawley, and that the whole affair, as far as Mr Crawley was concerned, would thus be brought to an end.  Toogood was still very anxious to place Dan Stringer in the dock, but Mr Walker declared that they would fail if they made the attempt.  Dan had been examined before the magistrates at Barchester, and having persisted in his statement that he had heard nothing about Mr Crawley and the cheque.  This he said in the teeth of the words which had fallen from him unawares in the presence of Mr Toogood.  But they could not punish him for a lie—­not even for such a lie as that!  He was not upon oath, and they could not make him responsible to the law because he had held his tongue upon a matter as to which it was manifest to them all that he had known the whole history during the entire period of Mr Crawley’s persecution.  They could only call upon him to account for his possession of the cheque, and this he did by saying that it had been paid to him by Jem Scuttle, who received all

Project Gutenberg
The Last Chronicle of Barset from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook