Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


St Ewold is not a rich piece of preferment--it is worth some three or four hundred a year, at most, and has generally been held by a clergyman attached to the cathedral choir. The archdeacon, however, felt, when the living on this occasion became vacant, that it imperatively behoved him to aid the force of his party with some tower of strength, if any such tower could be got to occupy St Ewold's. He had discussed the matter with his brethren in Barchester; not in any weak spirit as the holder of patronage to be used for his own or his family's benefit, but as one to whom was committed a trust, on the due administration of which much of the church's welfare might depend. He had submitted to them the name of Mr Arabin, as though the choice had rested with them all in conclave, and they had unanimously admitted that, if Mr Arabin would accept St Ewold's no better choice could possibly be made.

If Mr Arabin would accept St Ewold's! There lay the difficulty. Mr Arabin was a man standing somewhat prominently before the world, that is, before the Church of England world. He was not a rich man, it is true, for he held no preferment but his fellowship; but he was a man not over anxious for riches, not married of course, and one whose time was greatly taken up in discussing, both in print and on platforms, the privileges and practices of the church to which he belonged. As the archdeacon had done battle for its temporalities, so did Mr Arabin do battle for its spiritualities; and both had done so conscientiously; that is, not so much each for his own benefit as for that of others.

Holding such a position as Mr Arabin did, there was much reason to doubt whether he would consent to become the parson of St Ewold's, and Dr Grantly had taken the trouble to go himself to Oxford on the matter. Dr Gwynne and Dr Grantly together had succeeded in persuading this eminent divine that duty required him to go Barchester. There were wheels within wheels in this affair. For some time past Mr Arabin had been engaged in a tremendous controversy with no less a person than Mr Slope, respecting the apostolic succession. These two gentlemen had never seen each other, but they had been extremely bitter in print. Mr Slope had endeavoured to strengthen his cause by calling Mr Arabin an owl, and Mr Arabin had retaliated by hinting that Mr Slope was an infidel. This battle had been commenced in the columns of the daily Jupiter, a powerful newspaper, the manager of which was very friendly to Mr Slope's view of the case. The matter, however, had become too tedious for the readers of the Jupiter, and a little note had therefore been appended to one of Mr Slope's most telling rejoinders, in which it had been stated that no further letters from the reverend gentlemen could be inserted except as advertisements.

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