Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


Mr Harding and the archdeacon together made their way to Oxford, and there, by dint of cunning argument, they induced the Master of Lazarus also to ask himself this momentous question: 'Why should not Mr Arabin be Dean of Barchester?' He of course, for a while tried his hand at persuading Mr Harding that he was foolish, over-scrupulous, self-willed, and weak-minded; but he tried in vain. If Mr Harding would not give way to Dr Grantly, it was not likely that he would give way to Dr Gwynne; more especially now that so admirable a scheme as that of inducting Mr Arabin into the deanery had been set on foot. When the master found that his eloquence was vain, and heard also that Mr Arabin was about to become Mr Harding's son-in-law, he confessed that he also would, under such circumstances, be glad to see his old friend and protege, the fellow of his college, placed in the comfortable position that was going a-begging.

'It might be the means, you know, Master, of keeping Mr Slope out,' said the archdeacon with grave caution.

'He has no more chance of it,' said the master, 'that our college chaplain. I know about it than that.'

Mrs Grantly had been right in her surmise. It was the Master of Lazarus who had been instrumental in representing in high places the claims of Mr Harding had from the Government; and he now consented to use his best endeavours towards getting the offer transferred to Mr Arabin. The three of them went on to London together, and there they remained a week, to the great disgust of Mrs Grantly, and most probably also of Mrs Gwynne. The minister was out of town in one direction, and his private secretary in another. The clerks who remained could do nothing in such a matter as this, and all was difficulty and confusion. The two doctors seemed to have plenty to do; they bustled here and they bustled there, and complained at their club in the evenings that they had been driven off their legs; but Mr Harding had no occupation. Once or twice he suggested that he might perhaps return to Barchester. His request, however, was peremptorily refused, and had nothing for it but to while away his time in Westminster Abbey.

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