The Warden HTML version

When Eleanor laid her head on her pillow that night, her mind was anxiously intent on
some plan by which she might extricate her father from his misery; and, in her warm-
hearted enthusiasm, self-sacrifice was decided on as the means to be adopted. Was not so
good an Agamemnon worthy of an Iphigenia? She would herself personally implore John
Bold to desist from his undertaking; she would explain to him her father's sorrows, the
cruel misery of his position; she would tell him how her father would die if he were thus
dragged before the public and exposed to such unmerited ignominy; she would appeal to
his old friendship, to his generosity, to his manliness, to his mercy; if need were, she
would kneel to him for the favour she would ask; but before she did this the idea of love
must be banished. There must be no bargain in the matter. To his mercy, to his
generosity, she could appeal; but as a pure maiden, hitherto even unsolicited, she could
not appeal to his love, nor under such circumstances could she allow him to do so. Of
course, when so provoked he would declare his passion; that was to be expected; there
had been enough between them to make such a fact sure; but it was equally certain that
he must be rejected. She could not be understood as saying, Make my father free and I
am the reward. There would be no sacrifice in that--not so had Jephthah's daughter saved
her father-- not so could she show to that kindest, dearest of parents how much she was
able to bear for his good. No; to one resolve must her whole soul be bound; and so
resolving, she felt that she could make her great request to Bold with as much self-
assured confidence as she could have done to his grandfather.
And now I own I have fears for my heroine; not as to the upshot of her mission--not in
the least as to that; as to the full success of her generous scheme, and the ultimate result
of such a project, no one conversant with human nature and novels can have a doubt; but
as to the amount of sympathy she may receive from those of her own sex. Girls below
twenty and old ladies above sixty will do her justice; for in the female heart the soft
springs of sweet romance reopen after many years, and again gush out with waters pure
as in earlier days, and greatly refresh the path that leads downwards to the grave. But I
fear that the majority of those between these two eras will not approve of Eleanor's plan. I
fear that unmarried ladies of thirty-five will declare that there can be no probability of so
absurd a project being carried through; that young women on their knees before their
lovers are sure to get kissed, and that they would not put themselves in such a position
did they not expect it; that Eleanor is going to Bold only because circumstances prevent
Bold from coming to her; that she is certainly a little fool, or a little schemer, but that in
all probability she is thinking a good deal more about herself than her father.
Dear ladies, you are right as to your appreciation of the circumstances, but very wrong as
to Miss Harding's character. Miss Harding was much younger than you are, and could
not, therefore, know, as you may do, to what dangers such an encounter might expose
her. She may get kissed; I think it very probable that she will; but I give my solemn word
and positive assurance, that the remotest idea of such a catastrophe never occurred to her
as she made the great resolve now alluded to.