Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


It is so pleasant to receive a fillip of excitement when suffering from the dull routine of everyday life! The anthems and Te Deums were in themselves delightful, but they had been heard so often! Mr Slope was certainly not delightful, but he was new, and, moreover, clever. They had long thought it slow, so said now may of the Barchesterians, to go on as they had done in their old humdrum way, giving ear to none of the religious changes which were moving the world without. People in advance of the age now had new ideas, and it was quite time that Barchester should go in advance. Mr Slope might be right. Sunday certainly had to been strictly kept in Barchester, except as regarded the cathedral services. Indeed the two hours between services had long been appropriated to morning calls and hot luncheons. Then Sunday schools; Sabbath-day schools Mr Slope had called them. The late bishop had really not thought of Sunday schools as he should have done. (These people probably did not reflect that catechisms and collects are quite hard work to the young mind as book-keeping is to the elderly; and that quite as little feeling of worship enters into one task as the other.) And then, as regarded that great question of musical services, there might be much to be said on Mr Slope's side of the question. It certainly was the fact, that people went to the cathedral to hear the music &c &c.

And so a party absolutely formed itself in Barchester on Mr Slope's side of the question! This consisted, among the upper classes, chiefly of ladies. No man--that is, no gentleman--could possibly be attracted by Mr Slope, or consent to sit at the feet of so abhorrent a Gamaliel. Ladies are sometimes less nice in their appreciation of physical disqualification; and, provided that a man speak to them well, they will listen, though he speak from a mouth never so deformed and hideous. Wilkes was most fortunate as a lover; and the damp, sandy-haired, saucer-eyed, red-fisted Mr Slope was powerful only over the female breast.

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