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5. CHAPTER V: A MORNING VISIT
It was known that Dr Proudie would immediately have to reappoint to the wardenship of the hospital under the act of Parliament to which allusion has been made; but no one imagined that any choice was left to him--no one for a moment thought that he could appoint any other than Mr Harding. Mr Harding himself, when he heard how the matter had been settled, without troubling himself much on the subject, considered it as certain that he would go back to his pleasant house and garden. And though there would be much that was melancholy, nay, almost heartrending, in such a return, he still was glad that it was to be so. His daughter might probably be persuaded to return there with him. She had, indeed, all but promised to do so, though she still entertained an idea that the greatest of mortals, that important atom of humanity, that little god upon earth, Johnny Bold her baby, ought to have a house of his own over his head.
Such being the state of Mr Harding's mind in the matter, he did not feel any peculiar personal interest in the appointment of Dr Proudie to the bishopric. He, as well as others at Barchester, regretted that a man should be sent among them who, they were aware, was not of their way of thinking; but Mr Harding himself was not a bigoted man on points of church doctrine, and he was quite prepared to welcome Dr Proudie to Barchester in a graceful and becoming manner. He had nothing to seek and nothing to fear; he felt that it behoved him to be on good terms with his bishop, and he did not anticipate any obstacle that would prevent it.
In such a frame of mind he proceeded to pay his respects at the palace the second day after the arrival of the bishop and his chaplain. But he did not go alone. Dr Grantly proposed to accompany him, and Mr Harding was not sorry to have a companion, who would remove from his shoulders the burden of conversation in such an interview. In the affair of the consecration of Dr Grantly had been introduced to the bishop, and Mr Harding had also been there. He had, however, kept himself in the background, and he was now to be presented to the great man for the first time.
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