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18. CHAPTER XVIII: THE WIDOW'S PERSECUTION (continued)
Eleanor was not a little surprised when her brother-in-law came back and very civilly pressed her to go out to Plumstead with her father. She instantly perceived that her father had been fighting her battles for her behind her back. She felt thankful to him, and for his sake she would not show her resentment to the archdeacon by refusing his invitation. But she could not, she said, go on the morrow; she had an invitation to drink tea at the Stanhopes which she had promised to accept. She would, she added, go with her father on the next day, if he would wait; or she would follow him.
'The Stanhopes!' said Dr Grantly; 'I did not know you were so intimate with them.'
'I did not know it myself,' said she, 'till Miss Stanhope called yesterday. However, I like her very much, and I have promised to go and play chess with some of them.'
'Have they a party there?' said the archdeacon, still fearful of Mr Slope.
'Oh, no,' said Eleanor; 'Miss Stanhope said there was to be nobody at all. But she had learnt that Mary had left me for a few weeks, and she had learnt from some one that I play chess, and so she came over on purpose to ask me to go in.'
'Well, that's very friendly,' said the ex-warden. 'They certainly do look more like foreigners than English people, but I dare say they are none the worse for that.'
The archdeacon was inclined to look upon the Stanhopes with favourable eyes, and had nothing to object on the matter. It was therefore arranged that Mr Harding should postpone his visit to Plumstead for one day, and then take with him Eleanor, the baby, and the nurse.
Mr Slope is certainly becoming of some importance in Barchester.
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