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the upper house of Parliament.

Such a disposition, until it was thoroughly understood, did not tend
to ingratiate him with the wives of the country gentlemen among whom
he had to look for practice. And then, also, there was not much in
his individual manner to recommend him to the favour of ladies. He
was brusque, authoritative, given to contradiction, rough though
never dirty in his personal belongings, and inclined to indulge
in a sort of quiet raillery, which sometimes was not thoroughly
understood. People did not always know whether he was laughing
at them or with them; and some people were, perhaps, inclined to
think that a doctor should not laugh at all when called in to act
doctorially.

When he was known, indeed, when the core of the fruit had been
reached, when the huge proportions of that loving trusting heart had
been learned, and understood, and appreciated, when that honesty had
been recognised, that manly, and almost womanly tenderness had been
felt, then, indeed, the doctor was acknowledged to be adequate in his
profession. To trifling ailments he was too often brusque. Seeing
that he accepted money for the cure of such, he should, we may say,
have cured them without an offensive manner. So far he is without
defence. But to real suffering no one found him brusque; no patient
lying painfully on a bed of sickness ever thought him rough.

Another misfortune was, that he was a bachelor. Ladies think, and
I, for one, think that ladies are quite right in so thinking, that
doctors should be married men. All the world feels that a man when
married acquires some of the attributes of an old woman - he becomes,
to a certain extent, a motherly sort of being; he acquires a
conversance with women's ways and women's wants, and loses the wilder
and offensive sparks of his virility. It must be easier to talk to
such a one about Matilda's stomach, and the growing pains in Fanny's
legs, than to a young bachelor. This impediment also stood much in Dr
Thorne's way during his first years at Greshamsbury.

But his wants were not at first great; and though his ambition was
perhaps high, it was not of an impatient nature. The world was his
oyster; but, circumstanced as he was, he knew that it was not for him
to open it with his lancet all at once. He had bread to earn, which
he must earn wearily; he had a character to make, which must come
slowly; it satisfied his soul that, in addition to his immortal
hopes, he had a possible future in this world to which he could look
forward with clear eyes, and advance with a heart that would know no
fainting.

On his first arrival at Greshamsbury he had been put by the squire
into a house, which he still occupied when that squire's grandson
came of age. There were two decent, commodious, private houses in the
village - always excepting the rectory, which stood grandly in its own
grounds, and, therefore, was considered as ranking above the village
residences - of these two Dr Thorne had the smaller. They stood
exactly at the angle before described, on the outer side of it, and
at right angles to each other. They both possessed good stables and
ample gardens; and it may be as well to specify, that Mr Umbleby, the
agent and lawyer to the estate, occupied the larger one.

Here Dr Thorne lived for eleven or twelve years, all alone; and
then for ten or eleven more with his niece, Mary Thorne. Mary was
thirteen when she came to take up permanent abode as mistress of the
establishment - or, at any rate, to act as the only mistress which the
establishment possessed. This advent greatly changed the tenor of
the doctor's ways. He had been before pure bachelor; not a room in
his house had been comfortably furnished; he at first commenced in a
makeshift sort of way, because he had not at his command the means of
commencing otherwise; and he had gone on in the same fashion, because
the exact time had never come at which it was imperative in him to
set his house in order. He had had no fixed hour for his meals, no
fixed place for his books, no fixed wardrobe for his clothes. He had
a few bottles of good wine in his cellar, and occasionally asked a
brother bachelor to take a chop with him; but beyond this he had
touched very little on the cares of housekeeping. A slop-bowl full of
strong tea, together with bread, and butter, and eggs, was produced
for him in the morning, and he expected that at whatever hour he
might arrive in the evening, some food should be presented to him
wherewith to satisfy the cravings of nature; if, in addition to this,
he had another slop-bowl of tea in the evening, he got all that he
ever required, or all, at least, that he ever demanded.

But when Mary came, or rather, when she was about to come, things
were altogether changed at the doctor's. People had hitherto
wondered - and especially Mrs Umbleby - how a gentleman like Dr Thorne
could continue to live in so slovenly a manner; and how people again
wondered, and again especially Mrs Umbleby, how the doctor could
possibly think it necessary to put such a lot of furniture into a
house because a little chit of a girl of twelve years of age was
coming to live with him.

Mrs Umbleby had great scope for her wonder. The doctor made a
thorough revolution in his household, and furnished his house from
the ground to the roof completely. He painted - for the first time
since the commencement of his tenancy - he papered, he carpeted, and
curtained, and mirrored, and linened, and blanketed, as though a Mrs
Thorne with a good fortune were coming home to-morrow; and all for a
girl of twelve years old. "And how," said Mrs Umbleby, to her friend
Miss Gushing, "how did he find out what to buy?" as though the doctor
had been brought up like a wild beast, ignorant of the nature of
tables and chairs, and with no more developed ideas of drawing-room
drapery than an hippopotamus.

To the utter amazement of Mrs Umbleby and Miss Gushing, the doctor
did it all very well. He said nothing about it to any one - he never
did say much about such things - but he furnished his house well and
discreetly; and when Mary Thorne came home from her school at Bath,
to which she had been taken some six years previously, she found
herself called upon to be the presiding genius of a perfect paradise.

It has been said that the doctor had managed to endear himself to the
new squire before the old squire's death, and that, therefore, the
change at Greshamsbury had had no professional ill effects upon him.
Such was the case at the time; but, nevertheless, all did not go
smoothly in the Greshamsbury medical department. There was six or
seven years' difference in age between Mr Gresham and the doctor,
and, moreover, Mr Gresham was young for his age, and the doctor old;
but, nevertheless, there was a very close attachment between them
early in life. This was never thoroughly sundered, and, backed by
this, the doctor did maintain himself for some years before the
fire of Lady Arabella's artillery. But drops falling, if they fall
constantly, will bore through a stone.

Dr Thorne's pretensions, mixed with his subversive professional
democratic tendencies, his seven-and-sixpenny visits, added to his
utter disregard of Lady Arabella's airs, were too much for her
spirit. He brought Frank through his first troubles, and that at
first ingratiated her; he was equally successful with the early
dietary of Augusta and Beatrice; but, as his success was obtained
in direct opposition to the Courcy Castle nursery principles, this
hardly did much in his favour. When the third daughter was born,
he at once declared that she was a very weakly flower, and sternly
forbade the mother to go to London. The mother, loving her babe,
obeyed; but did not the less hate the doctor for the order, which
she firmly believed was given at the instance and express dictation
of Mr Gresham. Then another little girl came into the world, and the
doctor was more imperative than ever as to the nursery rules and the
excellence of country air. Quarrels were thus engendered, and Lady
Arabella was taught to believe that this doctor of her husband's
was after all no Solomon. In her husband's absence she sent for Dr
Fillgrave, giving very express intimation that he would not have to
wound either his eyes or dignity by encountering his enemy; and she
found Dr Fillgrave a great comfort to her.

Then Dr Thorne gave Mr Gresham to understand that, under such
circumstances, he could not visit professionally at Greshamsbury
any longer. The poor squire saw there was no help for it, and though
he still maintained his friendly connexion with his neighbour,
the seven-and-sixpenny visits were at an end. Dr Fillgrave from
Barchester, and the gentleman at Silverbridge, divided the
responsibility between them, and the nursery principles of Courcy
Castle were again in vogue at Greshamsbury.

So things went on for years, and those years were years of sorrow.
We must not ascribe to our doctor's enemies the sufferings, and
sickness, and deaths that occurred. The four frail little ones that
died would probably have been taken had Lady Arabella been more
tolerant of Dr Thorne. But the fact was, that they did die; and that
the mother's heart then got the better of the woman's pride, and Lady
Arabella humbled herself before Dr Thorne. She humbled herself, or
would have done so, had the doctor permitted her. But he, with his
eyes full of tears, stopped the utterance of her apology, took her
two hands in his, pressed them warmly, and assured her that his joy
in returning would be great, for the love that he bore to all that
belonged to Greshamsbury. And so the seven-and-sixpenny visits were
recommenced; and the great triumph of Dr Fillgrave came to an end.

Great was the joy in the Greshamsbury nursery when the second change
took place. Among the doctor's attributes, not hitherto mentioned,
was an aptitude for the society of children. He delighted to talk to
children, and to play with them. He would carry them on his back,
three or four at a time, roll with them on the ground, race with
them in the garden, invent games for them, contrive amusements in
circumstances which seemed quite adverse to all manner of delight;
and, above all, his physic was not nearly so nasty as that which came
from Silverbridge.

He had a great theory as to the happiness of children; and though
he was not disposed altogether to throw over the precepts of
Solomon - always bargaining that he should, under no circumstances,
be himself the executioner - he argued that the principal duty which
a parent owed to a child was to make him happy. Not only was the man
to be made happy - the future man, if that might be possible - but the
existing boy was to be treated with equal favour; and his happiness,
so said the doctor, was of much easier attainment.

"Why struggle after future advantage at the expense of present pain,
seeing that the results were so very doubtful?" Many an opponent of
the doctor had thought to catch him on the hip when so singular a
doctrine was broached; but they were not always successful. "What!"
said his sensible enemies, "is Johnny not to be taught to read
because he does not like it?" "Johnny must read by all means," would
the doctor answer; "but is it necessary that he should not like it?
If the preceptor have it in him, may not Johnny learn, not only to
read, but to like to learn to read?"

"But," would say his enemies, "children must be controlled." "And so
must men also," would say the doctor. "I must not steal your peaches,
nor make love to your wife, nor libel your character. Much as I
might wish through my natural depravity to indulge in such vices,
I am debarred from them without pain, and I may almost say without
unhappiness."

And so the argument went on, neither party convincing the other. But,
in the meantime, the children of the neighbourhood became very fond
of Dr Thorne.

Dr Thorne and the squire were still fast friends, but circumstances
had occurred, spreading themselves now over a period of many years,
which almost made the poor squire uneasy in the doctor's company. Mr
Gresham owed a large sum of money, and he had, moreover, already sold
a portion of his property. Unfortunately it had been the pride of the
Greshams that their acres had descended from one to another without
an entail, so that each possessor of Greshamsbury had had the full
power to dispose of the property as he pleased. Any doubt as to
its going to the male heir had never hitherto been felt. It had
occasionally been encumbered by charges for younger children; but
these charges had been liquidated, and the property had come down
without any burden to the present squire. Now a portion of this had
been sold, and it had been sold to a certain degree through the
agency of Dr Thorne.

This made the squire an unhappy man. No man loved his family name and
honour, his old family blazon and standing more thoroughly than he
did; he was every whit a Gresham at heart; but his spirit had been
weaker than that of his forefathers; and, in his days, for the first
time, the Greshams were to go to the wall! Ten years before the
beginning of our story it had been necessary to raise a large sum of
money to meet and pay off pressing liabilities, and it was found that
this could be done with more material advantage by selling a portion
of the property than in any other way. A portion of it, about a third
of the whole in value, was accordingly sold.

Boxall Hill lay half-way between Greshamsbury and Barchester, and was
known as having the best partridge shooting in the county; as having
on it also a celebrated fox cover, Boxall Gorse, held in very high
repute by Barsetshire sportsmen. There was no residence on the
immediate estate, and it was altogether divided from the remainder of
the Greshamsbury property. This, with many inward and outward groans,
Mr Gresham permitted to be sold.

It was sold, and sold well, by private contract to a native of
Barchester, who, having risen from the world's ranks, had made for
himself great wealth. Somewhat of this man's character must hereafter
be told; it will suffice to say that he relied for advice in money
matters upon Dr Thorne, and that at Dr Thorne's suggestion he had
purchased Boxall Hill, partridge-shooting and gorse cover all
included. He had not only bought Boxall Hill, but had subsequently
lent the squire large sums of money on mortgage, in all which
transactions the doctor had taken part. It had therefore come to pass
that Mr Gresham was not unfrequently called upon to discuss his money
affairs with Dr Thorne, and occasionally to submit to lectures and
advice which might perhaps as well have been omitted.

So much for Dr Thorne. A few words must still be said about Miss Mary
before we rush into our story; the crust will then have been broken,
and the pie will be open to the guests. Little Miss Mary was kept at
a farm-house till she was six; she was then sent to school at Bath,
and transplanted to the doctor's newly furnished house a little more
than six years after that. It must not be supposed that he had lost
sight of his charge during her earlier years. He was much too well
aware of the nature of the promise which he had made to the departing
mother to do that. He had constantly visited his little niece, and
long before the first twelve years of her life were over had lost all
consciousness of his promise, and of his duty to the mother, in the
stronger ties of downright personal love for the only creature that
belonged to him.

When Mary came home the doctor was like a child in his glee. He
prepared surprises for her with as much forethought and trouble as
though he were contriving mines to blow up an enemy. He took her
first into the shop, and then into the kitchen, thence to the
dining-rooms, after that to his and her bedrooms, and so on till
he came to the full glory of the new drawing-room, enhancing the
pleasure by little jokes, and telling her that he should never dare
to come into the last paradise without her permission, and not then
till he had taken off his boots. Child as she was, she understood the
joke, and carried it on like a little queen; and so they soon became
the firmest of friends.

But though Mary was a queen, it was still necessary that she should
be educated. Those were the earlier days in which Lady Arabella had
humbled herself, and to show her humility she invited Mary to share
the music-lessons of Augusta and Beatrice at the great house. A
music-master from Barchester came over three times a week, and
remained for three hours, and if the doctor chose to send his girl
over, she could pick up what was going on without doing any harm.
So said the Lady Arabella. The doctor with many thanks and with no
hesitation, accepted the offer, merely adding, that he had perhaps
better settle separately with Signor Cantabili, the music-master. He
was very much obliged to Lady Arabella for giving his little girl
permission to join her lessons to those of the Miss Greshams.

It need hardly be said that the Lady Arabella was on fire at once.
Settle with Signor Cantabili! No, indeed; she would do that; there
must be no expense whatever incurred in such an arrangement on Miss
Thorne's account! But here, as in most things, the doctor carried his
point. It being the time of the lady's humility, she could not make
as good a fight as she would otherwise have done; and thus she
found, to her great disgust, that Mary Thorne was learning music in
her schoolroom on equal terms, as regarded payment, with her own
daughters. The arrangement having been made could not be broken,
especially as the young lady in nowise made herself disagreeable; and
more especially as the Miss Greshams themselves were very fond of
her.

And so Mary Thorne learnt music at Greshamsbury, and with her music
she learnt other things also; how to behave herself among girls of
her own age; how to speak and talk as other young ladies do; how to
dress herself, and how to move and walk. All which, she, being quick
to learn, learnt without trouble at the great house. Something also
she learnt of French, seeing that the Greshamsbury French governess
was always in the room.

And then, some few years later, there came a rector, and a rector's
sister; and with the latter Mary studied German, and French also.
From the doctor himself she learnt much; the choice, namely, of
English books for her own reading, and habits of thought somewhat
akin to his own, though modified by the feminine softness of her
individual mind.

And so Mary Thorne grew up and was educated. Of her personal
appearance it certainly is my business as an author to say something.
She is my heroine, and, as such, must necessarily be very beautiful;
but, in truth, her mind and inner qualities are more clearly distinct
to my brain than her outward form and features. I know that she was
far from being tall, and far from being showy; that her feet and
hands were small and delicate; that her eyes were bright when looked
at, but not brilliant so as to make their brilliancy palpably
visible to all around her; her hair was dark brown, and worn very
plainly brushed from her forehead; her lips were thin, and her
mouth, perhaps, in general inexpressive, but when she was eager in
conversation it would show itself to be animated with curves of
wondrous energy; and, quiet as she was in manner, sober and demure as
was her usual settled appearance, she could talk, when the fit came
on her, with an energy which in truth surprised those who did not
know her; aye, and sometimes those who did. Energy! nay, it was
occasionally a concentration of passion, which left her for the
moment perfectly unconscious of all other cares but solicitude for
that subject which she might then be advocating.

All her friends, including the doctor, had at times been made unhappy
by this vehemence of character; but yet it was to that very vehemence
that she owed it that all her friends so loved her. It had once
nearly banished her in early years from the Greshamsbury schoolroom;
and yet it ended in making her claim to remain there so strong, that
Lady Arabella could no longer oppose it, even when she had the wish
to do so.

A new French governess had lately come to Greshamsbury, and was, or
was to be, a great pet with Lady Arabella, having all the great gifts
with which a governess can be endowed, and being also a protégée
from the castle. The castle, in Greshamsbury parlance, always meant
that of Courcy. Soon after this a valued little locket belonging to
Augusta Gresham was missing. The French governess had objected to its
being worn in the schoolroom, and it had been sent up to the bedroom
by a young servant-girl, the daughter of a small farmer on the
estate. The locket was missing, and after a while, a considerable
noise in the matter having been made, was found, by the diligence of
the governess, somewhere among the belongings of the English servant.
Great was the anger of Lady Arabella, loud were the protestations
of the girl, mute the woe of her father, piteous the tears of her
mother, inexorable the judgment of the Greshamsbury world. But
something occurred, it matters now not what, to separate Mary Thorne
in opinion from that world at large. Out she then spoke, and to her
face accused the governess of the robbery. For two days Mary was in
disgrace almost as deep as that of the farmer's daughter. But she was
neither quiet nor dumb in her disgrace. When Lady Arabella would not
hear her, she went to Mr Gresham. She forced her uncle to move in the
matter. She gained over to her side, one by one, the potentates of
the parish, and ended by bringing Mam'selle Larron down on her knees
with a confession of the facts. From that time Mary Thorne was dear
to the tenantry of Greshamsbury; and specially dear at one small
household, where a rough-spoken father of a family was often heard to
declare, that for Miss Mary Thorne he'd face man or magistrate, duke
or devil.

And so Mary Thorne grew up under the doctor's eye, and at the
beginning of our tale she was one of the guests assembled at
Greshamsbury on the coming of age of the heir, she herself having
then arrived at the same period of her life.




CHAPTER IV

Lessons from Courcy Castle


It was the first of July, young Frank Gresham's birthday, and the
London season was not yet over; nevertheless, Lady de Courcy had
managed to get down into the country to grace the coming of age
of the heir, bringing with her all the Ladies Amelia, Rosina,
Margaretta, and Alexandrina, together with such of the Honourable
Johns and Georges as could be collected for the occasion.

The Lady Arabella had contrived this year to spend ten weeks in town,
which, by a little stretching, she made to pass for the season; and
had managed, moreover, at last to refurnish, not ingloriously, the
Portman Square drawing-room. She had gone up to London under the
pretext, imperatively urged, of Augusta's teeth - young ladies' teeth
are not unfrequently of value in this way; - and having received
authority for a new carpet, which was really much wanted, had made
such dexterous use of that sanction as to run up an upholsterer's
bill of six or seven hundred pounds. She had of course had her
carriage and horses; the girls of course had gone out; it had been
positively necessary to have a few friends in Portman Square;
and, altogether, the ten weeks had not been unpleasant, and not
inexpensive.

For a few confidential minutes before dinner, Lady de Courcy and her
sister-in-law sat together in the latter's dressing-room, discussing
the unreasonableness of the squire, who had expressed himself with
more than ordinary bitterness as to the folly - he had probably used
some stronger word - of these London proceedings.

"Heavens!" said the countess, with much eager animation; "what can
the man expect? What does he wish you to do?"

"He would like to sell the house in London, and bury us all here for
ever. Mind, I was there only for ten weeks."

"Barely time for the girls to get their teeth properly looked at! But
Arabella, what does he say?" Lady de Courcy was very anxious to learn
the exact truth of the matter, and ascertain, if she could, whether
Mr Gresham was really as poor as he pretended to be.

"Why, he said yesterday that he would have no more going to town at
all; that he was barely able to pay the claims made on him, and keep
up the house here, and that he would not - "

"Would not what?" asked the countess.

"Why, he said that he would not utterly ruin poor Frank."

"Ruin Frank!"

"That's what he said."

"But, surely, Arabella, it is not so bad as that? What possible



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