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|The Warden||Anthony Trollope|
XII. Mr Bold's Visit to Plumstead
|Page 5 of 6||
'"Mr Harding's lawyer and my lawyer!" Did you come here merely to refer me to the lawyers? Upon my word I think the honour of your visit might have been spared! And now, sir, I'll tell you what my opinion is--my opinion is, that we shall not allow you to withdraw this matter from the courts.'
'You can do as you please, Dr Grantly; good-morning.'
'Hear me out, sir,' said the archdeacon; 'I have here in my hands the last opinion given in this matter by Sir Abraham Haphazard. I dare say you have already heard of this--I dare say it has had something to do with your visit here today.'
'I know nothing whatever of Sir Abraham Haphazard or his opinion.'
'Be that as it may, here it is; he declares most explicitly that under no phasis of the affair whatever have you a leg to stand upon; that Mr Harding is as safe in his hospital as I am here in my rectory; that a more futile attempt to destroy a man was never made, than this which you have made to ruin Mr Harding. Here,' and he slapped the paper on the table, 'I have this opinion from the very first lawyer in the land; and under these circumstances you expect me to make you a low bow for your kind offer to release Mr Harding from the toils of your net! Sir, your net is not strong enough to hold him; sir, your net has fallen to pieces, and you knew that well enough before I told you--and now, sir, I'll wish you good-morning, for I'm busy.'
Bold was now choking with passion. He had let the archdeacon run on because he knew not with what words to interrupt him; but now that he had been so defied and insulted, he could not leave the room without some reply.
'Dr Grantly,' he commenced.
'I have nothing further to say or to hear,' said the archdeacon. 'I'll do myself the honour to order your horse.' And he rang the bell.
'I came here, Dr Grantly, with the warmest, kindest feelings--'
'Oh, of course you did; nobody doubts it.'
'With the kindest feelings--and they have been most grossly outraged by your treatment.'
'Of course they have--I have not chosen to see my father-in-law ruined; what an outrage that has been to your feelings!'
'The time will come, Dr Grantly, when you will understand why I called upon you today.'
'No doubt, no doubt. Is Mr Bold's horse there? That's right; open the front door. Good-morning, Mr Bold'; and the doctor stalked into his own drawing-room, closing the door behind him, and making it quite impossible that John Bold should speak another word.
As he got on his horse, which he was fain to do feeling like a dog turned out of a kitchen, he was again greeted by little Sammy.
'Good-bye, Mr Bold; I hope we may have the pleasure of seeing you again before long; I am sure papa will always be glad to see you.'
That was certainly the bitterest moment in John Bold's life. Not even the remembrance of his successful love could comfort him; nay, when he thought of Eleanor he felt that it was that very love which had brought him to such a pass. That he should have been so insulted, and be unable to reply! That he should have given up so much to the request of a girl, and then have had his motives so misunderstood! That he should have made so gross a mistake as this visit of his to the archdeacon's! He bit the top of his whip, till he penetrated the horn of which it was made: he struck the poor animal in his anger, and then was doubly angry with himself at his futile passion. He had been so completely checkmated, so palpably overcome! and what was he to do? He could not continue his action after pledging himself to abandon it; nor was there any revenge in that--it was the very step to which his enemy had endeavoured to goad him!
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