Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


'I hope it will,' said she. 'I am sure it was well deserved. Did you ever in your life, bishop, hear anything so like play-acting as the way in which Mr Harding sings the litany? I shall beg Mr Slope to continue a course of sermons on the subject till all that is altered. We will have at any rate, in our cathedral, a decent, godly, modest morning service. There must be no more play-acting here now;' and so the lady rang for lunch.

This bishop knew more about cathedrals and deans, and precentors and church services than his wife did, and also more of the bishop's powers. But he thought it better at present to let the subject drop.

'My dear,' said he, 'I think we must go back to London on Tuesday. I find that my staying here will be very inconvenient to the Government.'

The bishop knew that to this proposal his wife would not object; and he also felt that by thus retreating from the ground of battle, the heat of the fight might be got over in his absence.

'Mr Slope will remain here, of course,' said the lady.

'Oh, of course,' said the bishop.

Thus, after less than a week's sojourn in his palace, did the bishop fly from Barchester; nor did he return to it for two months, the London season being then over. During that time Mr Slope was not idle, but he did not again assay to preach in the cathedral. In answer to Mrs Proudie's letters, advising a course of sermons, he had pleaded that he would at any rate wish to put off such an undertaking till she was there to hear them.

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