thankful that though we cannot see each other, we can as，
'My dear, it's a very nice little room; and you are really quite uncivil.'
'Oh, papa, don't joke. It's not a nice place for you. You say you are growing old, though I am sure you are not.'
'No, papa, not old--not to say old. But you are quite old enough to feel the want of a decent room to sit in. You know how lonely Mary and I are here. You know nobody ever sleeps in the big front bed-room. It is really unkind of you to remain there alone, when you are so much wanted here.'
'Thank you, Nelly--thank you. But, my dear--'
'If you had been living here, papa, with us, as I really think you ought to have done, considering how lonely we are, there would have been none of all this dreadful affair about Mr Slope.'
Mr Harding, however, did not allow himself to be talked over into giving up his own and only little pied a terre in the High Street. He promised to come and dine with his daughter, and stay with her, and visit her, and do everything but absolutely live with her. It did not suit the peculiar feelings of the man to tell his daughter that though she had rejected Mr Slope, and been ready to reject Mr Stanhope, some other more favoured suitor would probably soon appear; and that on the appearance of such a suitor the big front bed-room might perhaps be more frequently in requisition than at present. But doubtless such an idea crossed his mind, and added its weight to the other reasons which made him decide on still keeping the close, odious little room in High Street.
The evening passed over quietly and in comfort. Eleanor was always happier with her father than with any one else. He had not, perhaps, any natural taste for baby-worship, but he was always ready to sacrifice himself, and therefore made an excellent third in a trio with his daughter and Mary Bold in singing the praises of the wonderful child.
They were standing together over their music in the evening, the baby having again been put to bed upon the sofa, when the servant brought in a very small note in a beautiful pink envelope. It quite filled the room with perfume as it lay upon the small salver. Mary Bold and Mrs Bold were both at the piano, and Mr Harding was sitting close to them, with the violoncello between his legs; so that the elegance of the epistle was visible to them all.
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