Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


The archdeacon, in his journey into Barchester, had been assured by Mr Harding that all their prognostications about Mr Slope and Eleanor were groundless. Mr Harding, however, had found it very difficult to shake his son-in-law's faith in his own acuteness. The matter had, to Dr Grantly, been so plainly corroborated by such patent evidence, borne out by such endless circumstances, that he at first refused to take as true the positive statement which Mr Harding made to him of Eleanor's own disavowal of the impeachment. But at last he yielded in a qualified way. He brought himself to admit that he would at the present regard his past convictions as a mistake; but in doing this he so guarded himself, that if, at any future time, Eleanor should come forth to the world as Mrs Slope, he might still be able to say: 'There, I told you so. Remember what you said and what I said; and remember also for coming years, that I was right in this matter--as in all others.'

He carried, however, his concession so far as to bring himself to undertake to call at Eleanor's house, and he did call accordingly, while the father and the daughter were yet in the middle of their conference. Mr Harding had had so much to hear and to say that he had forgotten to advertise Eleanor of the honour that awaited her, and she heard her brother-in-law's voice in the hall, while she quite unprepared to see him.

'There's the archdeacon,' she said, springing up.

'Yes, my dear. He told me to tell you that he would come to see you; but, to tell the truth, I had forgotten all about it.'

Eleanor fled away, regardless of all her father's entreaties. She could not now, in the first hours of her joy, bring herself to bear all the archdeacon's retractions, apologies, and congratulations. He would have so much to say, and would be so tedious in saying it; consequently, the archdeacon, when he was shown into the drawing-room, found on one there but Mr Harding.'

'You must excuse Eleanor,' said Mr Harding.

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