Miss Thorne shows her talent for Match-making

On Mr Harding’s return to Barchester from Plumstead, which was effected by him in due course in company with the archdeacon, some tidings of a surprising nature met him. He was, during the journey, subjected to such a weight of unanswerable argument, all of which went to prove that it was his bounden duty not to interfere with the paternal government that was so anxious to make him a dean, that when he arrived at the chemist’s door in High Street, he barely knew which way to turn himself in the matter. But, perplexed as he was, he was doomed to further perplexity. He found a note there from his daughter, begging him to most urgently to come to her immediately. But we must again go back a little in our story.

Miss Thorne had not been slow to hear the rumours respecting Mr Arabin, which had so much disturbed the happiness of Mrs Grantly. And she, also, was unhappy to think that her parish clergyman should be accused of worshipping a strange goddess. She, also, was of opinion, that rectors and vicars should all be married, and with that good–natured energy which was characteristic of her, she put her wits to work to find a fitting match for Mr Arabin. Mrs Grantly, in this difficulty, could think of no better remedy than a lecture from the archdeacon. Miss Thorne thought that a young lady, marriageable, and with a dowry, might be of more efficacy. In looking through the catalogue of her unmarried friends, who might possibly be in want of a husband, and might also be fit for such a promotion as a country parsonage affords, she could think of no one more eligible than Mrs Bold; and, consequently, losing no time, she went into Barchester on the day of Mr Slope’s discomfiture, the same day that her brother, had had his interesting interview with the last of the Neros, and invited Mrs Bold to bring her nurse and baby to Ullathorne and make a protracted visit.

Miss Thorne suggested a month or two, intending to use her influence afterwards in prolonging it so as to last out the winter, in order that Mr Arabin might have an opportunity of becoming fairly intimate with his intended bride. ‘We’ll have Mr Arabin too,’ said Miss Thorne to herself; ‘and before the spring they’ll know each other; and in twelve or eighteen months’ time, if all goes well, Mrs Bold will be domiciled at St Ewold’s’; and then the kind–hearted lady gave herself some not undeserved praise for her matching genius.

Eleanor was taken a little by surprise, but the matter ended in her promising to go to Ullathorne, for at any rate a week or two; and on the day previous to that on which her father drove out to Plumstead, she had had herself driven out to Ullathorne.

Miss Thorne would not perplex her with her embryo lord on that same evening, thinking that she would allow her a few hours to make herself at home; but on the following morning Mr Arabin arrived. ‘And now,’ said Miss Thorne to herself,’ I must contrive to throw them in each other’s way.’ That same day, after dinner, Eleanor, with an assumed air of dignity which she could no maintain, with tears that she could not suppress, with a flutter which she could not conquer, and a joy which she could not hide, told Miss Thorne that she was engaged to marry Mr Arabin, and that it behoved her to get back home to Barchester as quick as she could.

To say simply that Miss Thorne was rejoiced at the success of the schemed, would give a very faint idea of her feelings on the occasion. My readers may probably have dreamt before now that they have had before them some terrible long walk to accomplish, some journey of twenty or thirty miles, an amount of labour frightful to anticipate, and that immediately on starting they have ingeniously found some accommodating short cut which have brought them without fatigue to their work’s end in five minutes. Miss Thorne’s waking feelings were somewhat of the same nature. My readers may perhaps have had to do with children, and may on some occasion have promised to their young charges some great gratification intended to come off, perhaps at the end of the winter, or at the beginning of summer. The impatient juveniles, however, will not wait, and clamorously demand their treat before they go to bed. Miss Thorne had a sort of feeling that an inexperienced gunner, who has ill calculated the length of the train that he has laid. The gunpowder exploded much too soon and poor Miss Thorne felt that she was blown up by the strength of her own petard.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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