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|The Warden||Anthony Trollope|
XVIII. The Warden Is Very Obstinate
|Page 3 of 4||
The warden looked at his daughter, thinking probably at the moment that if Eleanor were contented with him, he need not so much regard his other child, and said, 'I am sure Susan will not ask me to break my word, or to do what I know to be wrong.'
'Papa,' said she, 'it would be madness in you to throw up your preferment. What are you to live on?'
'God, that feeds the young ravens, will take care of me also,' said Mr Harding, with a smile, as though afraid of giving offence by making his reference to scripture too solemn.
'Pish!' said the archdeacon, turning away rapidly. 'If the ravens persisted in refusing the food prepared for them, they wouldn't be fed.' A clergyman generally dislikes to be met in argument by any scriptural quotation; he feels as affronted as a doctor does, when recommended by an old woman to take some favourite dose, or as a lawyer when an unprofessional man attempts to put him down by a quibble.
'I shall have the living of Crabtree,' modestly suggested the warden. 'Eighty pounds a year!' sneered the archdeacon.
'And the precentorship,' said the father-in-law.
'It goes with the wardenship,' said the son-in-law. Mr Harding was prepared to argue this point, and began to do so, but Dr Grantly stopped him. 'My dear warden,' said he, 'this is all nonsense. Eighty pounds or a hundred and sixty makes very little difference. You can't live on it--you can't ruin Eleanor's prospects for ever. In point of fact, you can't resign; the bishop wouldn't accept it; the whole thing is settled. What I now want to do is to prevent any inconvenient tittle-tattle--any more newspaper articles.'
'That's what I want, too,' said the warden.
'And to prevent that,' continued the other, 'we mustn't let any talk of resignation get abroad.'
'But I shall resign,' said the warden, very, very meekly.
'Good heavens! Susan, my dear, what can I say to him?'
'But, papa,' said Mrs Grantly, getting up, and putting her arm through that of her father, 'what is Eleanor to do if you throw away your income?'
A hot tear stood in each of the warden's eyes as he looked round upon his married daughter. Why should one sister who was so rich predict poverty for another? Some such idea as this was on his mind, but he gave no utterance to it. Then he thought of the pelican feeding its young with blood from its own breast, but he gave no utterance to that either; and then of Eleanor waiting for him at home, waiting to congratulate him on the end of all his trouble.
'Think of Eleanor, papa,' said Mrs Grantly.
'I do think of her,' said her father.
'And you will not do this rash thing?' The lady was really moved beyond her usual calm composure.
'It can never be rash to do right,' said he. 'I shall certainly resign this wardenship.'
'Then, Mr Harding, there is nothing before you but ruin,' said the archdeacon, now moved beyond all endurance. 'Ruin both for you and Eleanor. How do you mean to pay the monstrous expenses of this action?'
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