The Last Chronicle of Barset eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,014 pages of information about The Last Chronicle of Barset.

On the next day Lily Dale went down to the Small House of Allington, and so she passes out of sight.  I can only ask the reader to believe that she was in earnest, and express my opinion, in this last word, that I shall ever write respecting her, that she will live and die as Lily Dale.

CHAPTER LXXVIII

THE ARABINS RETURN TO BARCHESTER

In these days Mr Harding was keeping his bed at the deanery, and most of those who saw him declared that he would never again leave it.  The archdeacon had been slow to believe so, because he had still found his father-in-law able to talk to him; not indeed with energy—­but then Mr Harding had never been energetic on ordinary matters—­but with the same soft cordial interest in things which had ever been customary with him.  He had latterly been much interested about Mr Crawley, and would make both the archdeacon and Mrs Grantly tell him all that they had heard, and what they thought of the case.  This of course had been before the all-important news had been received from Mrs Arabin.  Mr Harding was very anxious.  ‘Firstly,’ he said, ’for the welfare of the poor man, of whom I cannot bring myself to think ill; and then for the honour of the cloth in Barchester.’  ’We are as liable to have black sheep here as anywhere,’ the archdeacon had replied.  ’But, my dear, I do not think the sheep is black; and we never have had black sheep in Barchester.’  ‘Haven’t we, though?’ said the archdeacon, thinking, however, of sheep who were black of a different kind of blackness from this which was now attributed to Mr Crawley—­of a blackness which was not absolute blackness to Mr Harding’s milder eyes.  The archdeacon, when he heard his father-in-law talk after this fashion, expressed his opinion that he might live for years.  He was just the man to linger on, living in bed—­as indeed he had lingered all his life out of bed.  But the doctor who attended him thought otherwise, as did also Mrs Grantly, and as did Mrs Baxter, and as also did Posy.  ’Grandpa won’t get up any more, will he?’ Posy said to Mrs Baxter.  ’I hope he will, my dear; and that very soon.’  ‘I don’t think he will,’ said Posy, ’because he said he would never see the big fiddle again.’  ’That comes of being a little melancholy like, my dear,’ said Mrs Baxter.

Mrs Grantly at this time went into Barchester almost every day, and the archdeacon, who was very often in the city, never went there without passing half-an-hour with the old man.  These two clergymen, essentially different in their characters and in every detail of conduct, had been so much thrown together by circumstances that the life of each almost became part of the life of the other.  Although the fact of Mr Harding’s residence at the deanery had of late years thrown him oftener into the society of the dean than that of his other son-in-law, yet his intimacy with the archdeacon had been so much earlier, and his memories of the

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The Last Chronicle of Barset from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.