‘I am not the bishop’s thumb,’ said Mr Thumble, drawing himself up.
’I intended not to hint anything personally objectionable to yourself. I will regard you as one of the angels of the church.’ Mr Thumble, when he heard this, began to be sure that Mr Crawley was mad; he knew of no angels that could ride about the Barsetshire lanes on grey ponies. ’And as much as I respect you; but I cannot discuss with you the matter of the bishop’s message.’
‘Oh, very well. I will tell his lordship.’
‘I will pray you to do so.’
’And his lordship, should he so decide, will arm me with such power on my next coming as will enable me to carry out his lordship’s wishes.’
‘His lordship will abide by the law, as will you also.’ In speaking these last words he stood with the door in his hand, and Mr Thumble, not knowing how to increase or even maintain his firmness, thought it best to pass out, and mount his grey pony and ride away.
’The poor man thought that you were laughing at him when you called him an angel of the church,’ said Mrs Crawley, coming up to him and smiling on him.
’Had I told him he was simply a messenger, he would have taken it worse;—poor fool! When they have rid themselves of me they may put him here, in my church; but not yet—not yet. Where is Jane? Tell her that I am ready to commence the Seven against Thebes with her.’ Then Jane was immediately sent for out of the school, and the Seven against Thebes was commenced with great energy. Often during the next hour and a half Mrs Crawley from the kitchen would hear him reading out, or rather saying by rote, with sonorous rolling voice, great passages from some chorus, and she was very thankful to the bishop, who had sent over to them a message and messenger which had been so salutary in their effect upon her husband. ‘In truth an angel of the church,’ she said to herself as she chopped up the onions for the mutton-broth; and ever afterwards she regarded Mr Thumble as an ‘angel’.
MAJOR GRANTLY CONSULTS A FRIEND
Grace Crawley passed through Silverbridge on her way to Allington on the Monday, and on the Tuesday morning Major Grantly received a very short note from Miss Prettyman, telling him that she had done so. ’Dear Sir,—I think you will be very glad to learn that our friend Miss Crawley went from us yesterday on a visit to her friend, Miss Dale, at Allington.—Yours truly, Annabella Prettyman.’ The note said no more than that. Major Grantly was glad to get it, obtaining from it the satisfaction which a man always feels when he is presumed to be concerned in the affairs of the lady with whom he is in love. And he regarded Miss Prettyman with favourable eyes as a discreet and friendly woman. Nevertheless, he was not altogether happy. The very fact that Miss Prettyman should write to him on such a subject