been instructed by the bishop to inform Mr Harding that the appointment would now be made at once. The bishop was of course only too happy to be able to be the means of restoring to Mr Harding the preferment which he had so long adorned. And then by degrees Mr Slope had introduced the subject of the pretty school which he had hoped before long to see attached to the hospital. He had quite fascinated Mrs Bold by his description of this picturesque, useful, and charitable appendage, and she had gone so far as to say that she had no doubt her father would approve, and that she herself would gladly undertake a class.

Anyone who had heard the entirely different tone, and seen the entirely different manner in which Mr Slope had spoken of this projected institution to the daughter and to the father, would not have failed to own that Mr Slope was a man of genius. He said nothing to Mrs Bold about the hospital sermons and services, nothing about the exclusion of the old men from the cathedral, nothing about dilapidation and painting, nothing about carting away the rubbish. Eleanor had said to herself that certainly she did not like Mr Slope personally, but that he was a very active, zealous, clergyman, and would no doubt be useful in Barchester. All this paved the way for much additional misery to Mr Harding.

Eleanor put on her happiest face as she heard her father on the stairs, for she thought she had only to congratulate him; but directly she saw his face, she knew that there was but little matter for congratulation. She had seen him with the same weary look of sorrow on one or two occasions before, and remembered it well. She had seen him when he first read that attack upon himself in the Jupiter, which had ultimately caused him to resign the hospital; and she had seen him also when the archdeacon had persuaded him to remain there against his own sense of propriety and honour. She knew at a glance that his spirit was in deep trouble.

‘Oh, papa, what is it?’ said she, putting down her boy to crawl upon the floor.

‘I came to tell you, my dear,’ said he, ‘that I am going out to Plumstead: you won’t come with me, I suppose?’

‘To Plumstead, papa? Shall you stay there?’

‘I suppose I shall tonight: I must consult the archdeacon about this weary hospital. Ah me! I wish I had never thought of it again.’

‘Why, papa, what is the matter?’

‘I’ve been with Mr Slope, my dear; and he isn’t the pleasantest companion in the world, at least not to me.’ Eleanor gave a sort of half blush; but she was wrong if she imagined that her father in any way alluded to her acquaintance with Mr Slope.

‘Well, papa.’

‘He wants to turn the hospital into a Sunday school and a preaching house; and I suppose he will have his way. I do not feel myself adapted for such an establishment, and therefore, I suppose, I must refuse the appointment.’

‘What would be the harm of the school, papa?’

‘The want of a proper schoolmaster, my dear.’

‘But that would of course be supplied.’

‘Mr Slope wishes to supply it by making me his schoolmaster. But as I am hardly fit for such work, I intend to decline.’

‘Oh, papa! Mr Slope doesn’t intend that. He was here yesterday, and what he intends—’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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