Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


Poor Mrs Bold, when she got home from Ullathorne on the evening of Miss Thorne's party, was very unhappy, and moreover very tired. Nothing fatigues the body so much as weariness of spirit, and Eleanor's spirit was indeed weary.

Dr Stanhope had civilly but not very cordially asked her in to tea, and her manner of refusal convinced the worthy doctor that he need not repeat the invitation. He had not exactly made himself a party to the intrigue which was to convert the late Mr Bold's patrimony into an income for his hopeful son, but he had been well aware what was going on. And he was thus well aware also, when he perceived that Bertie declined accompanying them home in the carriage, that the affair had gone off.

Eleanor was very much afraid that Charlotte would have darted out upon her, as the prebendary got out at his own door, but Bertie thoughtfully saved her from this, by causing the carriage to go round by her house. This also Dr Stanhope understood, and allowed to pass by without remark.

When she got home, she found Mary Bold in the drawing-room with the child in her lap. She rushed forward, and, throwing herself on her knees, kissed the little fellow till she almost frightened him.

'Oh, Mary, I am so glad you did not go. It was an odious party.'

Now the question of Mary's going had been one greatly mooted between them. Mrs Bold, when invited, had been the guest of the Grantlys, and Miss Thorne, who had chiefly known Eleanor at the hospital or at Plumstead rectory, had forgotten all about Mary Bold. Her sister-in-law had implored her to go under her wing, and had offered to write to Miss Thorne, or to call on her. But Miss Bold had declined. In fact, Mr Bold had not been very popular with such people as the Thornes, and his sister would not go among them unless she were specially asked to do so.

'Well then,' said Mary cheerfully, 'I have the less to regret.'

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