’Nothing on earth. I’ll wait with you, while you have the house opened and inquire, if you wish it. The truth is somebody inside refused to have the door opened, and I didn’t want to stay there all night.’
‘They’re a rummy couple, if what I hear is true.’
‘They are a rummy couple,’ said Johnny.
‘I suppose it’s all right,’ said the policeman, taking the money. And then John walked off home by himself, turning his mind all the circumstances of his connection with Miss Demolines. Taking his own conduct as a whole, he was rather proud of it; but he acknowledged to himself that it would be well that he should keep himself free from the society of Madalinas for the future.
On the morning of the Sunday after the dean’s return, Mr Harding was lying in his bed, and Posy was sitting on the bed beside him. It was manifest to all now that he became feebler and feebler from day to day, and that he would never leave his bed again. Even the archdeacon had shaken his head, and had acknowledged to his wife that the last day for her father was near at hand. It would very soon be necessary that he should elect another vicar for St Ewold’s.
‘Grandpa won’t play cat’s-cradle,’ said Posy, as Mrs Arabin entered the room.
‘No, darling—not this morning,’ said the old man. He himself well knew that he would never play cat’s-cradle again. Even that was over for him how.
‘She teases you, papa,’ said Mrs Arabin.
‘No, indeed,’ said he. ‘Posy never teases me;’ and he slowly moved his withered hand down outside the bed, so as to hold the child by her frock. ‘Let her stay with me, my dear.’
‘Dr Filgrave is downstairs, papa. You will see him, if he comes up?’ Now Dr Filgrave was the leading physician of Barchester, and nobody of note in the city—or for that matter of that in the eastern division of the county—was allowed to start upon the last great journey without some assistance from him as the hour of going drew nigh. I do not know that he had much reputation for prolonging life, but he was supposed to add a grace to the hour of departure. Mr Harding expressed no wish to see the doctor—had rather declared his conviction that Dr Filgrave could be of no possible service to him. But he was not a man to persevere in his objection in opposition to the wishes of his friends around him; and as soon as the archdeacon had spoken a word on the subject he assented.
‘Of course, my dear, I will see him.’
‘And Posy shall come back when he has gone,’ said Mrs Arabin.
’Posy will do me more good than Dr Filgrave, I’m quite sure;—but Posy shall go now.’ So Posy scrambled off the bed, and the doctor was ushered into the room.