The Warden Resigns
The party met the next morning at breakfast; and a very sombre affair it was--very unlike
the breakfasts at Plumstead Episcopi.
There were three thin, small, dry bits of bacon, each an inch long, served up under a huge
old plated cover; there were four three-cornered bits of dry toast, and four square bits of
buttered toast; there was a loaf of bread, and some oily- looking butter; and on the
sideboard there were the remains of a cold shoulder of mutton. The archdeacon, however,
had not come up from his rectory to St Paul's Churchyard to enjoy himself and therefore
nothing was said of the scanty fare.
The guests were as sorry as the viands--hardly anything was said over the breakfast-table.
The archdeacon munched his toast in ominous silence, turning over bitter thoughts in his
deep mind. The warden tried to talk to his daughter, and she tried to answer him; but they
both failed. There were no feelings at present in common between them. The warden was
thinking only of getting back to Barchester, and calculating whether the archdeacon
would expect him to wait for him; and Mrs Grantly was preparing herself for a grand
attack which she was to make on her father, as agreed upon between herself and her
husband during their curtain confabulation of that morning.
When the waiter had creaked out of the room with the last of the teacups, the archdeacon
got up and went to the window as though to admire the view. The room looked out on a
narrow passage which runs from St Paul's Churchyard to Paternoster Row; and Dr
Grantly patiently perused the names of the three shopkeepers whose doors were in view.
The warden still kept his seat at the table, and examined the pattern of the tablecloth; and
Mrs Grantly, seating herself on the sofa, began to knit.
After a while the warden pulled his Bradshaw out of his pocket, and began laboriously to
consult it. There was a train for Barchester at 10 A.M. That was out of the question, for it
was nearly ten already. Another at 3 P.M.; another, the night-mail train, at 9 P.M. The
three o'clock train would take him home to tea, and would suit very well.
'My dear,' said he, 'I think I shall go back home at three o'clock today. I shall get home at
half-past eight. I don't think there's anything to keep me in London.'
'The archdeacon and I return by the early train tomorrow, papa; won't you wait and go
back with us?'
'Why, Eleanor will expect me tonight; and I've so much to do; and--'
'Much to do!' said the archdeacon sotto voce; but the warden heard him.
'You'd better wait for us, papa.'