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nowhere had she so eagerly sworn to him that she would be his own dutiful loving wife.
“And by God's help so I will," she said to herself, as she walked firmly up to the house. “He has gone, mamma," she said, as she entered the breakfast room.
"And now we'll go back to our work-aday ways; it has been all Sunday for me for the last six weeks.”
Mr. Crosbie meets an old Clergyman on his way to Courcy Castle.
For the first mile or two of their journey Crosbie and Bernard Dale sat, for the most part, silent in their gig. Lily, as she ran down to the churchyard corner and stood there looking after them with her loving eyes, had not been seen by them. But the spirit of her devotion was still strong upon them both, and they felt that it would not be well to strike at once into any ordinary topic of conversation. And, moreover, we may presume that Crosbie did feel much at thus parting from such a girl as Lily Dale, with whom he had lived in close intercourse for the last six weeks, and whom he loved with all his heart, with all the heart that he had for such purposes.
In those doubts as to his marriage which had troubled him he had never expressed to himself any disapproval of Lily. He had not taught himself to think that she was other than he would have her be, that he might thus give himself an excuse for parting from her.
Not as yet, at any rate, had he had recourse to that practice, so common with men who wish to free themselves from the bonds with which they have permitted themselves to be bound. Lily had been too sweet to his eyes, to his touch, to all his senses for that. He had enjoyed too keenly the pleasure of being with her, and of hearing her tell him that she loved him, to allow of his being personally tired of her. He had not been so
spoilt by his club life but that he had taken exquisite pleasure in all her nice country ways, and soft, kindhearted, womanly humour. He was by no means tired of Lily. Better than any of his London pleasures was this pleasure of making love in the green fields to Lily Dale. It was the consequences of it that affrighted him. Babies with their belongings would come; and dull evenings, over a dull fire, or else the pining grief of a disappointed woman. He would be driven to be careful as to his clothes, because the ordering of a new coat would entail a serious expenditure. He could go no more among countesses and their daughters, because it would be out of the question that his wife should visit at their houses. All the victories that he had ever won must be given up. He was thinking of this even while the gig was going round the corner near the parsonage house, and while Lily's eyes were still blessed with some view of his departing back; but he was thinking, also, that moment, that there might be other victory in store for him; that it might be possible for him to learn to like that fireside, even though babies should be there, and a woman opposite to him intent on baby cares. He was struggling as best he knew how; for the solemnity which Lily had imparted to him had not yet vanished from his spirit.
“I hope that, upon the whole, you feel contented with your visit?” said Bernard to him, at last.
"Contented? Of course I do."
“That is easily said; and civility to me, perhaps, demands as much. But I know that you have, to some extent, been disappointed.” The Small House at Allington. I.
"Well; yes. I have been disappointed as regards money. It is of no use denying it."
"I should not mention it now, only that I want to know that you exonerate me."
“I have never blamed you; neither you, nor anybody else; unless, indeed, it has been myself.”
"You mean that you regret what you've done?”
“No; I don't mean that. I am too devotedly attached to that dear girl whom we have just left to feel any regret that I have engaged myself to her. But I do think that had I managed better with your uncle things might have been different."
“I doubt it. Indeed I know that it is not so; and can assure you that you need not make yourself unhappy on that score. I had thought, as you well know, that he would have done something for Lily;
something, though not as much as he always intended to do for Bell. But you may be sure of this; that he had made up his mind as to what he would do. Nothing that you or I could have said would have changed him."
“Well; we won't say anything more about it," said Crosbie.
Then they went on again in silence, and arrived at Guestwick in ample time for the train.
“Let me know as soon as you get to town," said Crosbie.
“Oh, of course. I'll write to you before that.”
And so they parted. As Dale turned and went, Crosbie felt that he liked him less than he had done before; and Bernard, also, as he was driving him, came to the conclusion that Crosbie would not be so good a fellow as a brother-in-law as he had been as a chance friend. "He'll give us trouble, in some way; and I'm sorry that I brought him down." That was Dale's inward conviction in the matter.
Crosbie's way from Guestwick lay, by railway, to Barchester, the cathedral city lying in the next county, from whence he purposed to have himself conveyed over to Courcy. There had, in truth, been no cause for his very early departure, as he was aware that all arrivals at country houses should take place at some hour not much previous to dinner. He had been determined to be so soon upon the road by a feeling that it would be well for him to get over those last hours. Thus he found himself in Barchester at eleven o'clock, with nothing on his hands to do; and, having nothing else to do, he went to church. There was a full service at the cathedral, and as the
marshalled him up to one of the empty stalls, a little spare old man was beginning to chant the Litany. "I did not mean to fall in for all this,” said Crosbie, to himself, as he settled himself with his arms on the cushion. But the peculiar charm of that old man's voice soon attracted him; - a voice that, though tremulous, was yet strong; and he ceased to regret the saint whose honour and glory had occasioned the length of that day's special service.
"And who is the old gentleman who chanted the Litany?” he asked the verger afterwards, as he allowed himself to be shown round the monuments of the cathedral.
"That's our precentor, sir; Mr. Harding. You must have heard of Mr. Harding.” But Crosbie, with a full apology, confessed his ignorance.
"Well, sir; he's pretty well known too, tho' he is