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The Warden Anthony Trollope

XIII. The Warden's Decision

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'Mr Bold can't un-write that, my dear--Mr Bold can't say that that sha'n't be read by every clergyman at Oxford; nay, by every gentleman in the land': and then he walked up and down the room, while Eleanor in mute despair followed him with her eyes. 'And I'll tell you what, my dear,' he continued, speaking now very calmly, and in a forced manner very unlike himself; 'Mr Bold can't dispute the truth of every word in that article you have just read--nor can I.' Eleanor stared at him, as though she scarcely understood the words he was speaking. 'Nor can I, Eleanor: that's the worst of all, or would be so if there were no remedy. I have thought much of all this since we were together last night'; and he came and sat beside her, and put his arm round her waist as he had done then. 'I have thought much of what the archdeacon has said, and of what this paper says; and I do believe I have no right to be here.'

'No right to be warden of the hospital, papa?'

'No right to be warden with eight hundred a year; no right to be warden with such a house as this; no right to spend in luxury money that was intended for charity. Mr Bold may do as he pleases about his suit, but I hope he will not abandon it for my sake.'

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Poor Eleanor! this was hard upon her. Was it for this she had made her great resolve! For this that she had laid aside her quiet demeanour, and taken upon her the rants of a tragedy heroine! One may work and not for thanks, but yet feel hurt at not receiving them; and so it was with Eleanor: one may be disinterested in one's good actions, and yet feel discontented that they are not recognised. Charity may be given with the left hand so privily that the right hand does not know it, and yet the left hand may regret to feel that it has no immediate reward. Eleanor had had no wish to burden her father with a weight of obligation, and yet she had looked forward to much delight from the knowledge that she had freed him from his sorrows: now such hopes were entirely over: all that she had done was of no avail; she had humbled herself to Bold in vain; the evil was utterly beyond her power to cure!

She had thought also how gently she would whisper to her father all that her lover had said to her about herself, and how impossible she had found it to reject him: and then she had anticipated her father's kindly kiss and close embrace as he gave his sanction to her love. Alas! she could say nothing of this now. In speaking of Mr Bold, her father put him aside as one whose thoughts and sayings and acts could be of no moment. Gentle reader, did you ever feel yourself snubbed? Did you ever, when thinking much of your own importance, find yourself suddenly reduced to a nonentity? Such was Eleanor's feeling now.

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The Warden
Anthony Trollope

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