Mr Bold's Visit to Plumstead
Whether or no the ill-natured prediction made by certain ladies in the beginning of the
last chapter was or was not carried out to the letter, I am not in a position to state.
Eleanor, however, certainly did feel herself to have been baffled as she returned home
with all her news to her father. Certainly she had been victorious, certainly she had
achieved her object, certainly she was not unhappy, and yet she did not feel herself
triumphant. Everything would run smooth now. Eleanor was not at all addicted to the
Lydian school of romance; she by no means objected to her lover because he came in at
the door under the name of Absolute, instead of pulling her out of a window under the
name of Beverley; and yet she felt that she had been imposed upon, and could hardly
think of Mary Bold with sisterly charity. 'I did think I could have trusted Mary,' she said
to herself over and over again. 'Oh that she should have dared to keep me in the room
when I tried to get out!' Eleanor, however, felt that the game was up, and that she had
now nothing further to do but to add to the budget of news which was prepared for her
father, that John Bold was her accepted lover.
We will, however, now leave her on her way, and go with John Bold to Plumstead
Episcopi, merely premising that Eleanor on reaching home will not find things so smooth
as she fondly expected; two messengers had come, one to her father and the other to the
archdeacon, and each of them much opposed to her quiet mode of solving all their
difficulties; the one in the shape of a number of The Jupiter, and the other in that of a
further opinion from Sir Abraham Haphazard.
John Bold got on his horse and rode off to Plumstead Episcopi; not briskly and with eager
spur, as men do ride when self- satisfied with their own intentions; but slowly, modestly,
thoughtfully, and somewhat in dread of the coming interview. Now and again he would
recur to the scene which was just over, support himself by the remembrance of the silence
that gives consent, and exult as a happy lover. But even this feeling was not without a
shade of remorse. Had he not shown himself childishly weak thus to yield up the resolve
of many hours of thought to the tears of a pretty girl? How was he to meet his lawyer?
How was he to back out of a matter in which his name was already so publicly
concerned? What, oh what! was he to say to Tom Towers? While meditating these
painful things he reached the lodge leading up to the archdeacon's glebe, and for the first
time in his life found himself within the sacred precincts.
All the doctor's children were together on the slope of the lawn close to the road, as Bold
rode up to the hall door. They were there holding high debate on matters evidently of
deep interest at Plumstead Episcopi, and the voices of the boys had been heard before the
lodge gate was closed.
Florinda and Grizzel, frightened at the sight of so well- known an enemy to the family,
fled on the first appearance of the horseman, and ran in terror to their mother's arms; not
for them was it, tender branches, to resent injuries, or as members of a church militant to