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.

‘I will endeavour,’ said Mr Thumble.

’The bishop and I both feel that this most unfortunate man must not under any circumstances be allowed to perform the services of the Church while this charge is hanging over him—­a charge as to the truth of which no sane man can entertain a doubt.’

‘I’m afraid not, Mrs Proudie,’ said Mr Thumble.

’The bishop and I therefore are most anxious that you should make Mr Crawley understand at once—­at once,’ and the lady, as she spoke, lifted up her hand with an eloquent violence which had its effect on Mr Thumble, ’that he is inhibited,’—­the bishop shook in his shoes—­’inhibited from the performance of any of his sacred duties.’  Thereupon, Mr Thumble promised obedience and went his way.

CHAPTER XII

MR CRAWLEY SEEKS FOR SYMPATHY

Matters went very badly indeed in the parsonage at Hogglestock.  On the Friday morning, the morning of the day after his committal, Mr Crawley got up very early, long before the daylight, and dressing himself in the dark, groped his way downstairs.  His wife having vainly striven to persuade him to remain where he was, followed him into the cold room below with a lighted candle.  She found him standing with his hat on and with his old cloak, as though he were prepared to go out.  ’Why do you do this?’ she said.  ’You will make yourself ill with the cold and the night air; and then you, and I too, will be worse than we now are.’

’We cannot be worse.  You cannot be worse, and for me it does not signify.  Let it pass.’

’I will not let you pass, Josiah.  Be a man and bear it.  Ask God for strength, instead of seeking it in an over-indulgence of your own sorrow.’

‘Indulgence!’

’Yes, love;—­indulgence.  It is indulgence.  You will allow your mind to dwell on nothing for a moment but your own wrongs.’

’What else have I that I can think of?  Is not all the world against me?’

‘Am I against you?’

’Sometimes I think you are.  When you accuse me of self-indulgence you are against me—­me, who for myself have desired nothing but to be allowed to do my duty, and to have bread enough to keep me alive, and clothes to make me decent.’

’Is it not self-indulgence, this giving way to grief?  Who would know so well as you how to teach the lesson of endurance to others?  Come, love.  Lay down your hat.  It cannot be fitting that you should go out into the wet and cold of the raw morning.’

For a moment he hesitated, but as she raised her hand to take his cloak from him he drew back from her, and would not permit it.  ’I shall find those up whom I want to see,’ he said.  ’I must visit my flock, and I dare not go through the parish by daylight lest they hoot after me as a thief.’

‘Not one in Hogglestock would say a word to insult you.’

’Would they not?  The very children in the school whisper at me.  Let me pass, I say.  It has not yet come to that, that I should be stopped in my egress and ingress.  They have—­bailed me; and while their bail lasts, I may go where I will.’

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