Another Love Scene
But there was another visitor at the rectory whose feelings in this unfortunate matter must be somewhat strictly analysed. Mr Arabin had heard from his friend of the probability of Eleanors marriage with Mr Slope with amazement, but not with incredulity. It has been said that he was not in love with Eleanor, and up to this period this certainly had been true. But as soon as he heard that she loved some one else, he began to be very fond of her himself. He did not make up his mind that he wished to have her for his wife; he had never thought of her, and did not know how to think of her, in connection with himself; but he experienced an inward indefinable feeling of deep regret, a gnawing sorrow, and unconquerable depression of spirits, and also a species of selfabasement that hehe Mr Arabinhad not done something to prevent that other he, that vile he, whom he so thoroughly despised, from carrying off his sweet prize.
Whatever man may have reached the age of forty unmarried without knowing something of such feelings must have been very successful or else very cold hearted.
Mr Arabin had never thought of trimming the sails of his bark so that he might sail as convoy to this rich argosy. He had seen that Mrs Bold was beautiful, but he had not dreamt of making her beauty his own. He knew that Mrs Bold was rich, but he had no more idea of appropriating her wealth than that of Dr Grantly. He had discovered that Mrs Bold was intelligent, warmhearted, agreeable, sensible, all, in fact, that a man could wish his wife to be; but the higher were her attractions, the greater her claims to consideration, the less had he imagined that he might possible become the possessor of them. Such had been his instinct rather than his thoughts, so humble and so diffident. Now his diffidence was to be rewarded by his seeing this woman, whose beauty was to his eyes perfect, whose wealth was such as to have deterred him from thinking of her, whose widowhood would have silenced him had he not been so deterred, by his seeing her become the prey ofObadiah Slope!
On the morning of Mrs Bolds departure he got on his horse to ride over to St Ewolds. As he rode he kept muttering to himself a line from Van Artevelde:
And then he strove to recall his mind and to think of other affairs, his parish, his college, his creedbut his thoughts would revert to Mrs Bold and the Flemish chieftain:
How little flattering is womans love,
Given commonly to whosoeer is nearest
And propped with most advantage.
It was not that Mrs Bold should marry any one but him; he had not put himself forward as a suitor; but that she should marry Mr Slopeand so he repeated over and over again:
Nor inward light is needfulday by day
Men wanting both are mated with the best
And loftiest of Gods feminine creation,
Whose love takes no distinction but of gender
And ridicules the very name of choice.
And so he went on troubled much in his mind.
He had but an uneasy ride of it that morning, and little good did he do at St Ewolds.
The necessary alterations in his house were being fast completed, and he walked through the rooms, and went up and down the stairs and rambled through the garden; but he could not wake himself to much interest about them. He stood still at every window to look out and think upon Mr Slope. At almost every window he had before stood and chatted with Eleanor. She and Mrs Grantly had been there continually, and while Mrs Grantly had been giving orders, and seeing that orders had been complied with, he and Eleanor had conversed on all things appertaining to a clergymans profession. He thought how often he had laid down the law to her, and how sweetly she had borne with somewhat dictatorial decrees. He remembered her listening intelligence, her gentle but quick replies, her interest in all that concerned
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