A Love Scene

Mr Slope, as we have said, left the palace with a feeling of considerable triumph. Not that he thought that his difficulties were over; he did not so deceive himself; but he felt that he had played his first move well, as well as the pieces on the board would allow; and that he had nothing with which to reproach himself. He first of all posted the letter to the archbishop, and having made that sure he proceeded to push the advantage which he had gained. Had Mrs Bold been at home, he would have called on her; but he knew that she was at Plumstead, as he wrote the following note. It was the beginning of what, he trusted, might be a long and tender series of epistles.

‘My dear Mrs Bold,—You will understand perfectly that I cannot at present correspond with your father. I heartily wish that I could, and hope the day may be not long distant, when mists shall have cleared away, and we may know each other. But I cannot preclude myself from the pleasure of sending you these few lines to say that Mr Q. has to–day, in my presence, resigned any title that he ever had to the wardenship of the hospital, and that the bishop has assured me that it is his intention to offer it to your esteemed father.

‘Will you, with my respectful compliments, ask him, who I believe is a fellow visitor with you, to call on the bishop either on Wednesday or Thursday, between ten and one. This is by the bishop’s desire. If you will so far oblige me as to let me have a line naming either day, and the hour which will suit Mr Harding, I will take care that the servants shall have orders to show him in without delay. Perhaps I should say no more,—but still I wish you could make your father understand that no subject will be mooted between his lordship and him, which will refer at all to the method in which he may choose to perform his duty. I for one, am persuaded that no clergyman could perform it more satisfactorily than he did, or than he will do again.

‘On a former occasion I was indiscreet and much too impatient, considering your father’s age and my own. I hope he will not now refuse my apology. I still hope also that with your aid and sweet pious labours, we may live to attach such a Sabbath school to the old endowment, as may, by God’s grace and furtherance, be a blessing to the poor of this city.

‘You will see at once that this letter is confidential. The subject, of course, makes it so. But, equally, of course, it is for your parent’s eye as well as for your own, should you think it proper to show it to him.

‘I hope my darling little friend Johnny is as strong as ever,— dear little fellow. Does he still continue his rude assaults on those beautiful long silken tresses?

‘I can assure your friends miss you from Barchester sorely; but it would be cruel to begrudge you your sojourn among flowers and fields during this truly sultry weather.

‘Pray believe me, my dear Mrs Bold

Yours most sincerely,
‘Obadiah Slope.

‘Barchester, Friday.’

Now this letter, taken as a whole, and with the consideration that Mr Slope wished to assume a great degree of intimacy with Eleanor, would not have been bad, but for the allusion to the tresses. Gentlemen do not write to ladies about their tresses, unless they are on very intimate terms indeed. But Mr Slope could not be expected to be aware of this. He longed to put a little affection into his epistle, and yet he thought it injudicious, as the letter would he knew be shown to Mr Harding. He would have insisted that the letter should be strictly private and seen by no eyes but Eleanor’s own, had he not felt that such an injunction would have been disobeyed. He therefore restrained his passion, did not sign himself ‘yours affectionately,’ and contented himself instead with the compliment to the tresses.

We will now follow his letter. He took it to Mrs Bold’s house, and learning there, from the servant, that things were to be sent out to Plumstead that afternoon, left it, with many injunctions, in her hands.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.