Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


And then the hyena laughed loud. Pleased at such an arrangement! pleased at having her enemy converted into a dean with twelve hundred a year! Medea, when she describes the customs of her native country (I am quoting from Robson's edition), assures her astonished auditor that in her land captives, when taken, are eaten. 'You pardon them!' says Medea. 'We do indeed,' says the mild Grecian. 'We eat them!' says she of Colchis, with terrible energy. Mrs Proudie was the Medea of Barchester; she had no idea of not eating Mr Slope. Pardon him! merely get rid of him! make a dean of him! It was not so they did with their captives in her country, among people of her sort! Mr Slope had no such mercy to expect; she would pick him to the very last bone.

'Oh, yes, my dear, of course he'll cease to be your chaplain,' said she. 'After what has passed, that must be a matter of course. I couldn't for a moment think of living in the same house with such a man. Besides, he has shown himself quite unfit for such a situation; making broils and quarrels among the clergy, getting you, my dear, into scrapes, and taking upon himself as though he was as good as bishop himself. Of course he'll go. But because he leaves the palace, that is no reason why he should get into the deanery.'

'Oh, of course not!' said the bishop; 'but to save appearances you know, my dear--'

'I don't want to save appearances; I want Mr Slope to appear just what he is--a false, designing, mean, intriguing man. I have my eye on him; he little knows what I see. He is misconducting himself in the most disgraceful way with that lame Italian woman. That family is a disgrace to Barchester, and Mr Slope is a disgrace to Barchester! If he doesn't look well to it, he'll have his gown stripped off his back instead of having a dean's hat on his head. Dean, indeed! The man has gone mad with arrogance.

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