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51. CHAPTER LI: MR SLOPE BIDS FAREWELL TO THE PALACE AND ITS INHABITANTS (continued)
Of the bishop and his wife very little further need be said. From that time forth nothing material occurred to interrupt the even course of their domestic harmony. Very speedily, a further vacancy on the bench of bishops gave Dr Proudie the seat in the House of Lords, which he at first so anxiously longed for. But by this time, he had become a wiser man. He did certainly take his seat, and occasionally registered a vote in favour of Government view on ecclesiastical matters.
But he had thoroughly learnt that his proper sphere of action lay in close contiguity with Mrs Proudie's wardrobe. He never again aspired to disobey, or seemed even to wish for autocratic diocesan authority. If ever he thought of freedom, he did so, as men think of the millennium, as of a good time which may be coming, but which nobody expects to come in their day. Mrs Proudie might be said still to bloom, and was, at any rate, strong; and the bishop had no reason to apprehend that he would be speedily visited with the sorrows of a widower's life.
He is still bishop of Barchester. He has so graced that throne, that the Government has been adverse to translate him, even to higher duties. There may he remain, under safe pupilage, till the new-fangled manners of the age have discovered him to be superannuated, and bestowed on him a pension. As for Mrs Proudie, our prayers for her are that she may live for ever.
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