Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


During the entire next week Barchester was ignorant who was to be its new dean on Sunday morning. Mr Slope was decidedly the favourite; but he did not show himself in the cathedral, and then he sank a point or two in the betting. On Monday, he got a scolding from the bishop in the hearing of the servants, and down he went till nobody would have him at any price; but on Tuesday he received a letter, in an official cover, marked private, by which he fully recovered his place in the public favour. On Wednesday, he was said to be ill, and that did not look well; but on Thursday morning he went down to the railway station, with a very jaunty air; and when it was ascertained that he had taken a first-class ticket for London, there was no longer any room for doubt on the matter.

While matters were in this state of ferment at Barchester, there was not much mental comfort at Plumstead. Our friend the archdeacon had many grounds for inward grief. He was much displeased at the result of Dr Gwynne's diplomatic mission to the palace, and did not even scruple to say to his wife that had he gone himself he would have managed the affair much better. His wife did not agree with him, but that did not mend the matter.

Mr Quiverful's appointment to the hospital was, however, a fait accompli, and Mr Harding's acquiescence in that appointment was not less so. Nothing would induce Mr Harding to make a public appeal against the bishop; and the Master of Lazarus quite approved of his not doing so.

'I don't know what has come to the Master,' said the archdeacon over and over again. 'He used to be ready enough to stand up for his order.'

'My dear archdeacon,' Mrs Grantly would say in reply, 'what is the use of always fighting? I really think the Master is right.' The Master, however, had taken steps of his own, of which neither the archdeacon nor his wife knew anything.

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