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50. CHAPTER L: THE ARCHDEACON IS SATISFIED WITH THE STATE OF AFFAIRS (continued)
'Well, I can't say I think it is impossible. It certainly took me by surprise; but that does not make it impossible.'
'She must be mistaken.'
Mr Harding assured him that there was no mistake; that he would find, on returning home, that Mr Arabin had been at Plumstead with the express object of making to same declaration, that even Miss Thorne knew all about it; and that, in fact, the thing was as clearly settled as any such arrangement between a lady and a gentleman could be.
'Good heavens!' said the archdeacon, walking up and down Eleanor's drawing-room. 'Good heavens! Good heavens!'
Now, these exclamations certainly betokened faith. Mr Harding properly gathered from it that, at last, Dr Grantly did believe the fact. The first utterances clearly evinced a certain amount of distaste at the information he had received; the second, simply indicated surprise; and the tone of the third, Mr Harding fancied that he could catch a certain gleam of satisfaction.
The archdeacon had truly expressed the workings of his mind. He could not but be disgusted to find how utterly astray he had been in all his anticipations. Had he only been lucky enough to have suggested the marriage himself when he first brought Mr Arabin into the country, his character for judgment and wisdom would have received an addition which would have classed him at any rate next to Solomon. And why had he not done so? Might he not have foreseen that Mr Arabin would want a wife in the parsonage? He had foreseen that Eleanor would want a husband; but should he not also have perceived that Mr Arabin was a man much more likely to attract her than Mr Slope? The archdeacon found that he had been at fault, and of course could not immediately get over his discomfiture.
Then his surprise was intense. How sly the pair of young turtle doves had been with him. How egregiously they had hoaxed him. He had preached at Eleanor against her fancied attachment to Mr Slope, at the very time she was in love with his own protege, Mr Arabin; and had absolutely taken that same Mr Arabin into his confidence with reference to the dread of Mr Slope's alliance. It was very natural that the archdeacons should feel surprise.
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