Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


'Yes, Mr Slope; your conduct to the bishop. It is by no means what I would wish to see it.'

'Has the bishop said anything, Mrs Proudie?'

'No, the bishop has said nothing. He probably thinks that any remarks on the matter will come better from me, who first introduced you to his lordship's notice. The fact is, Mr Slope, you are a little inclined to take too much upon yourself.'

An angry spot showed itself upon Mr Slope's cheeks, and it was with difficulty that he controlled himself. But he did do so, and sat quite silent while the lady went on.

'It is the fault of many young men in your position, and therefore the bishop is not inclined at present to resent it. You will, no doubt, soon learn what is required from you, and what is not. If you will take my advice, however, you will be careful not to obtrude advice upon the bishop in any matter concerning patronage. If his lordship wants advice, he knows where to look for it.' And then having added to her counsel a string of platitudes as to what was desirable and what not desirable in the conduct of a strictly evangelical, unmarried young clergyman, Mrs Proudie retreated, leaving the chaplain to his thoughts.

The upshot of his thoughts was this, that there certainly was not room in the diocese for the energies of both himself and Mrs Proudie, and that it behoved him quickly to ascertain whether his energies or hers would prevail.

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