‘But,’ he said, laughing, ‘I shall be greatly shorn of my ancient glory.’

‘Why so, papa?’

‘This new act of parliament, that is to put us all on our feet again,’ continued he, ‘settles my income at four hundred and fifty pounds per annum.’

‘Four hundred and fifty,’ said she, ‘instead of eight hundred! Well; that is rather shabby. But still, papa, you’ll have the dear old house and garden?’

‘My dear,’ said he, ‘it’s worth twice the money;’ and as he spoke he showed a jaunty kind of satisfaction in his tone and manner, and in the quick, pleasant way in which he paced Eleanor’s drawing–room. ‘It’s worth twice the money. I shall have the house and the garden, and a larger income than I can possibly want.’

‘At any rate, you’ll have no extravagant daughter to provide for;’ and as she spoke, the young widow put her arm within his, and made him sit on the sofa beside her; ‘at any rate you’ll not have that expense.’

‘No, my dear; and I shall be rather lonely without her; but we won’t think of that now. As regards income I shall have plenty for all I want. I shall have my old house; and I don’t mind owning now that I have felt sometimes the inconvenience of living in a lodging. Lodgings are very nice for young men, but at my time of life there is a want of—I hardly know what to call it, perhaps not respectability—’

‘Oh, papa! I’m sure there’s been nothing like that. Nobody has thought it; nobody in all Barchester has been more respected than you have been since you took those rooms in High Street. Nobody! Not the dean in his deanery, or the archdeacon at Plumstead.’

‘The archdeacon would not be much obliged to you if he heard you,’ said he, smiling somewhat at the exclusive manner in which his daughter confined her illustration to the church dignitaries of the chapter of Barchester; ‘but at any rate, I shall be glad to get back to the old house. Since I heard that it was all settled, I have begun to fancy that I can’t be comfortable without my two sitting–rooms.’

‘Come and stay with me, papa, till it is settled—there’s a dear papa.’

‘Thank ye, Nelly. But no; I won’t do that. It would make two movings. I shall be very glad to get back to my old men again. Alas! Alas! There have six of them gone in the few last years. Six out of twelve! And the others I fear have had but a sorry life of it there. Poor Bunce, poor old Bunce!’

Bunce was one of the surviving recipients of Hiram’s charity; and old man, now over ninety, who had long been a favourite of Mr Harding’s.

‘How happy old Bunce will be,’ said Mrs Bold, clapping her soft hands softly. ‘How happy they all will be to have you back again.’ You may be sure there will soon be friendship among them again when you are there.’

‘But,’ said he, half laughing, ‘I am to have new troubles, which will be terrible to me. There are to be twelve old women, and a matron. How shall I manage twelve women and a matron!’

‘The matron will manage the women of course.’

‘And who’ll manage the matron?’ said he.

‘She won’t want to be managed. She’ll be a great lady herself, I suppose. But, papa, where will the matron live? She is not to live in the warden’s house with you, is she?’

‘Well, I hope not, my dear.’

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