rough work. But if a new winter dress is actually in hand,，
When he had stood on the hearth-rug, counting the pattern, and counting also the future chances of his own life, the remembrances of Mrs Bold's comfortable income had not certainly damped his first assured feeling of love for her. And why should it have done so? Need it have done so with the purest of men? Be that as it may, Mr Arabin decided against himself; he decided that it had done so in his case, and that he was not the purest of men.
He also decided, which was more to his purpose, that Eleanor did not care a straw for him, and that very probably did not care a straw for his rival. Then he made up his mind not to think of her any more, and went on thinking of her till he was almost in a state to drown himself in the little brook which was at the bottom of the archdeacon's grounds.
And ever and again his mind would revert to the Signora Neroni, and he would make comparisons between her and Eleanor Bold, not always in favour of the latter. The signora had listened to him, and flattered him, and believed in him; at least she had told him so. Mrs Bold had also listened to him, but had never flattered him; had not always believed in him: and now had broken from him in violent rage. The signora, too, was the more lovely woman of the two, and had also the additional attraction of her affliction; for to him it was an attraction.
But he never could have loved the Signora Neroni as he felt that he now loved Eleanor! and so he flung stones into the brook, instead of flinging in himself, and sat down on its margin as sad a gentleman as you shall meet in a summer's day.
He heard the dinner-bell ring from the churchyard, and he knew that it was time to recover his self possession. He felt that he was disgracing himself in his own eyes, that he had been idling his time and neglecting the high duties which he had taken upon himself to perform. He should have spent the afternoon among the poor at St Ewold's, instead of wandering about Plumstead, an ancient love-lorn swain, dejected and sighing, full of imaginary sorrows and Wertherian grief. He was thoroughly ashamed of himself, and determined to lose no time in retrieving his character, so damaged in his own eyes. Thus when he appeared at dinner he was as animated as ever, and was the author of most of the conversation which graced the archdeacon's board on that evening. Mr Harding was ill at ease and sick at heart, and did not care to appear more comfortable than he really was; what little he did say was said to his daughter. He thought the archdeacon and Mr Arabin had leagued together against Eleanor's comfort; and his wish now was to break away from the pair, and undergo in his Barchester lodgings whatever Fate had in store for him. He hated the name of the hospital; his attempt to regain his lost inheritance there had brought upon him so much suffering. As far as he was concerned, Mr Quiverful was now welcome to the place.
And the archdeacon was not very lively. The poor dean's illness was of course discussed in the first place. Dr Grantly did not mention Mr Slope's name in connexion with the expected event of Dr Trefoil's death; he did not wish to say anything about Mr Slope just at present, nor did he wish to make known his own sad surmises; but the idea that his enemy might possibly become Dean of Barchester made him very gloomy. Should such an even take place, such a dire catastrophe come about, there would be an end to his life as far as his life was connected with the city of Barchester. He must give up all his old haunts, all his old habits, and live quietly as a retired rector at Plumstead. It had been a severe trial for him to have Dr Proudie in the palace; but with Mr Slope also in the deanery, he felt that he should be unable to draw his breath in Barchester close.
Thus it came to pass that in spite of the sorrow at his heart, Mr Arabin was apparently the gayest of the party. Both Mr Harding and Mrs Grantly were in a slight degree angry with him on account of his want of gloom. To the one it appeared as though he were triumphing at Eleanor's banishment, and to the other that he was not affected as he should have been by all the sad circumstances of the day, Eleanor's obstinacy, Mr Slope's success, and the poor dean's apoplexy. And so they were all at cross purposes.
Mr Harding left the room almost together with the ladies, and the archdeacon opened his heart to Mr Arabin. He still harped upon the hospital. 'What did that fellow mean,' said he, 'by saying in his letter to Mrs Bold, that if Mr Harding would call on the bishop it would be all right? Of course I would not be guided by anything he might say; but still it may be well that Mr Harding should see the bishop. It would be foolish to let the thing slip through our fingers because Mrs Bold is determined to make a fool of herself.'
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