Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


At three o'clock they again went into church; and now Mr Arabin read the service and the archdeacon preached. Nearly the same congregation was present, with some adventurous pedestrians from the city, who had not thought the heat of the mid-day August sun too great to deter them. The archdeacon took his text from the Epistle of Philemon. 'I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds.' From such a text it may be imagined the kind of sermon which Dr Grantly preached, and on the whole it was neither dull, nor bad, nor out of place.

He told them it had become his duty to look about for a pastor for them; to supply the place of one who had been long among them; and that in this manner he regarded as a son him whom he had selected, as St Paul had regarded the young disciple whom he sent forth. Then he took a little merit to himself for having studiously provided the best man he could without reference to patronage or favour; but he did not say that the best man according to his views was he who was best able to subdue Mr Slope, and make that gentleman's situation in Barchester too hot to be comfortable. As to the bonds, they had consisted in the exceeding struggle which he had made to get a good clergyman for them. He deprecated any comparison between himself and St Paul, but said that he was entitled to beseech them for their good will towards Mr Arabin, in the same manner that the apostle had besought Philemon and his household with regard to Onesimus.

The archdeacon's sermon, text, blessing and all, was concluded within the half hour. Then they shook hands with their Ullathorne friends, and returned to Plumstead. 'Twas thus that Mr Arabin read himself in at St Ewold's.

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