Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


And so the matter was arranged between them. Mr Harding had come expressly for advice, and therefore felt himself bound to take the advice given him. He had known, moreover, beforehand, that the archdeacon would not hear of his giving the matter up, and accordingly though he had in perfect good faith put forward his own views, he was prepared to yield.

They therefore went into the drawing-room in good humour with each other, and the evening passed pleasantly in prophetic discussion on the future wars of Arabin and Slope. The frogs had the mice would be nothing to them, nor the angers of Agamemnon and Achilles. How the archdeacon rubbed his hands, and plumed himself on the success of his last move. He could not himself descend into the arena with Slope, but Arabin would have no such scruples. Arabin was exactly the man for such work, and the only man whom he knew that was fit for it.

The archdeacon's good humour and high buoyancy continued till, when reclining on his pillow, Mrs Grantly commenced to give him her view of the state of affairs in Barchester. And then certainly he was startled. The last words he said that night were as follows:--

'If she does, by heaven, I'll never speak to her again. She dragged me into the mire once, but I'll not pollute myself with such filth as that--' And the archdeacon gave a shudder which shook the whole room, so violently was he convulsed with the thought which then agitated his mind.

Now in this matter, the widow Bold was scandalously ill-treated by her relatives. She had spoken to the man three or four times, and had expressed her willingness to teach in a Sunday-school. Such was the full extent of her sins in the matter of Mr Slope. Poor Eleanor! But time will show.

The next morning Mr Harding returned to Barchester, no further word having been spoken in his hearing respecting Mr Slope's acquaintance with his younger daughter. But he observed that the archdeacon at breakfast was less cordial than he had been on the preceding evening.

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