Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

BARCHESTER TOWERS TABLE OF CONTENTS I Who will be the new Bishop? II Hiram’s Hospital, according to Act of Parliament III Dr and Mrs Proudie IV The Bishop’s Chaplain V A Morning Visit VI War VII The Dean and Chapter take Counsel VIII The Ex-Warden rejoices at his probable Return to the Hospital IX The
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I Who will be the new Bishop?
II Hiram’s Hospital, according to Act of Parliament III Dr and Mrs Proudie
IV The Bishop’s Chaplain
V A Morning Visit
VI War
VII The Dean and Chapter take Counsel VIII The Ex-Warden rejoices at his probable Return to the Hospital IX The Stanhope Family
X Mrs Proudie’s Reception–Commenced XI Mrs Proudie’s Reception–Concluded
XII Slope versus Harding
XIII The Rubbish Cart
XIV The New Champion
XV The Widow’s Suitors
XVI Baby Worship
XVII Who shall be Cock of the Walk? XVIII The Widow’s Persecution
XIX Barchester by Moonlight
XX Mr Arabin
XXI St Ewold’s Parsonage
XXII The Thornes of Ullathorne
XXIII Mr Arabin reads himself in at St Ewold’s XXIV Mr Slope manages matters very well at Puddingdale XXV Fourteen Arguments in favour of Mr Quiverful’s Claims XXVI Mrs Proudie wrestles and gets a Fall XXVII A Love Scene
XXVIII Mrs Bold is entertained by Dr and Mrs Grantly at Plumstead XXIX A serious Interview
XXX Another Love Scene
XXXI The Bishop’s Library
XXXII A New Candidate for Ecclesiastical Honours XXXIII Mrs Proudie Victrix
XXXIV Oxford–The Master and Tutor of Lazarus XXXV Miss Thorne’s Fete Champetre
XXXVI Ullathorne Sports–Act I
XXXVII The Signora Neroni, the Countess De Courcy, and Mrs Proudie meet each other at Ullathorne XXXVIII The Bishop sits down to Breakfast and the Dean dies XXXIX The Lookalofts and the Greenacres XL Ullathorne Sports–Act II
XLI Mrs Bold confides her Sorrow to her Friend Miss Stanhope XLII Ullathorne Sports–Act III
XLIII Mrs and Mrs Quiverful are made happy. Mr Slope is encouraged by the Press
XLIV Mrs Bold at Home
XLV The Stanhopes at Home
XLVI Mr Slope’s parting Interview with the Signora

XLVII The Dean Elect
XLVIII Miss Thorne shows her Talent at Match-making XLIX The Belzebub Colt
L The Archdeacon is satisfied with the State of Affairs LI Mr Slope’s Farewell to the Palace and its Inhabitants LII The new Dean takes Possession of the Deanery, and the New Warden of the Hospital
LIII Conclusion



In the latter days of July in the year 185-, a most important question was for ten days hourly asked in the cathedral city of Barchester, and answered every hour in various ways–Who was to be the new Bishop?

The death of old Dr Grantly, who had for many years filled the chair with meek authority, took place exactly as the ministry of Lord – was going to give place to that Lord -. The illness of the good old man was long and lingering, and it became at last a matter of intense interest to those concerned whether the new appointment should be made by a conservative or liberal government.

Bishop Grantly died as he had lived, peaceably, slowly, without pain and without excitement. The breath ebbed from him almost imperceptibly, and for a month before his death, it was a question whether he was alive or dead.

A trying time was this for the archdeacon, for whom was designed the reversion of his father’s see by those who then had the giving away of episcopal thrones. I would not be understood to say that the prime minister had in so many words promised the bishopric to Dr Grantly. He was too discreet a man for that. There is a proverb with reference to the killing of cats, and those who know anything either of high or low government places, will be well aware that a promise may be made without positive words, and that an expectant may be put into the highest state of encouragement, though the great man on whose breath he hangs may have done no more than whisper that ‘Mr So-and-so is certainly a rising man.’

Such a whisper had been made, and was known by those who heard it to signify that the cures of the diocese of Barchester should not be taken out of the hands of the archdeacon. The then prime minister was all in all at Oxford, and had lately passed a night at the house of the master of Lazarus. Now the master of Lazarus–which is, by the bye, in many respects the most comfortable, as well as the richest college at Oxford,–was the archdeacon’s most intimate friend and most trusted counsellor. On the occasion of the prime minister’s visit, Dr Grantly was of course present, and the meeting was very gracious. On the following morning Dr Gwynne, the master, told the archdeacon that in his opinion the matter was settled.

At this time the bishop was quite on his last legs; but the ministry was also tottering. Dr Grantly returned from Oxford happy and elated, to resume his place in the palace, and to continue to perform for the father the last duties of a son; which, to give him his due, he performed with more tender care than was to be expected from his usual somewhat worldly manners.

A month since the physicians had named four weeks as the outside period during which breath could be supported within the body of the dying man. At the end of the month the physicians wondered, and named another fortnight. The old man lived on wine alone, but at the end of the fortnight he still lived; and the tidings of the fall of the ministry became more frequent. Sir Lamda Mewnew and Sir Omicron Pie, the two great London doctors, now came down for the fifth time, and declared, shaking their learned heads, that another week of life was impossible; and as they sat down to lunch in the episcopal dining-room, whispered to the archdeacon their own private knowledge that the ministry must fall within five days. The son returned to his father’s room, and after administering with his own hands the sustaining modicum of madeira, sat down by the bedside to calculate his chances.

The ministry were to be out within five days: his father was to be dead within–No, he rejected that view of the subject. The ministry were to be out, and the diocese might probably be vacant at the same period. There was much doubt as to the names of the men who were to succeed to power, and a week must elapse before a Cabinet was formed. Would not vacancies be filled by the out-going men during that week? Dr Grantly had a kind of idea that such would be the case, but did not know; and then he wondered at his own ignorance of such a question.

He tried to keep his mind away from the subject, but he could not. The race was so very close, and the stakes were so very high. He then looked at the dying man’s impassive, placid face. There was no sign there of death or disease; it was something thinner than of yore, somewhat grayer, and the deep lines of age more marked; but, as far as he could judge, life might yet hang there for weeks to come. Sir Lamda Mewnew and Sir Omicron Pie had thrice been wrong, and might yet be wrong thrice again. The old bishop slept during twenty of the twenty-four hours, but during the short periods of his waking moments, he knew both his son and his dear friend Mr Harding, the archdeacon’s father-in-law, and would thank them tenderly for their care and love. Now he lay sleeping like a baby, resting easily on his back, his mouth just open, and his few gray hairs straggling from beneath his cap; his breath was perfectly noiseless, and his thin, wan hand, which lay above the coverlid, never moved. Nothing could be easier than the old man’s passage from this world to the next.

But by no means easy were the emotions of him who sat there watching. He knew it must be now or never. He was already over fifty, and there was little chance that his friends who were now leaving office would soon return to it. No probable British prime minister but he who was now in, he who was so soon to be out, would think of making a bishop of Dr Grantly. Thus he thought long and sadly, in deep silence, and then gazed at that still living face, and then at last dared to ask himself whether he really longed for his father’s death.

The effort was a salutary one, and the question was answered in a moment. The proud, wishful, worldly man, sank on his knees by the bedside, and taking the bishop’s hand within his own, prayed eagerly that his sins might be forgiven him.

His face was still buried in the clothes when the door of the bed-room opened noiselessly, and Mr Harding entered with a velvet step. Mr Harding’s attendance at that bedside had been nearly as constant as that of the archdeacon, and his ingress and egress was as much a matter of course as that of his son-in-law. He was standing close beside the archdeacon before he was perceived, and would have also knelt in prayer had he not feared that his doing so might have caused some sudden start, and have disturbed the dying man. Dr Grantly, however, instantly perceived him, and rose from his knees. As he did so Mr Harding took both his hands, and pressed them warmly. There was more fellowship between them at that moment than there had ever been before, and it so happened that after circumstances greatly preserved the feeling. As they stood there pressing each other’s hands, the tears rolled freely down their cheeks.

‘God bless you, my dears,’–said the bishop with feeble voice as he woke–‘God bless you–may God bless you both, my dear children:’ and so he died.

There was no loud rattle in the throat, no dreadful struggle, no palpable sign of death; but the lower jaw fell a little from its place, and the eyes, which had been so constantly closed in sleep, now remained fixed and open. Neither Mr Harding nor Dr Grantly knew that life was gone, though both suspected it.

‘I believe it’s all over,’ said Mr Harding, still pressing the other’s hands. ‘I think–nay, I hope it is.’

‘I will ring the bell,’ said the other, speaking all but in a whisper. ‘Mrs Phillips should be here.’

Mrs Phillips, the nurse, was soon in the room, and immediately, with practised hand, closed those staring eyes.

‘It’s all over, Mrs Phillips?’ asked Mr Harding.

‘My lord’s no more,’ said Mrs Phillips, turning round and curtseying with a solemn face; ‘His lordship’s gone more like a sleeping baby than any that I ever saw.’

‘It’s a great relief, archdeacon,’ said Mr Harding, ‘A great relief–dear good, excellent old man. Oh that our last moments may be as innocent and peaceful as his!’

‘Surely,’ said Mrs Phillips. ‘The Lord be praised for all his mercies; but, for a meek, mild, gentle-spoken Christian, his lordship was–‘ and Mrs Phillips, with unaffected but easy grief, put up her white apron to her flowing eyes.

‘You cannot but rejoice that it is over,’ said Mr Harding, still counselling his friend. The archdeacon’s mind, however, had already travelled from the death chamber to the closet of the prime minister. He had brought himself to pray for his father’s life, but now that that life was done, to dally with the fact of the bishop’s death–useless to lose perhaps everything for the pretence of a foolish sentiment.

But how was he to act while his father-in-law stood there holding his hand? How, without appearing unfeeling, was he to forget his father in the bishop–to overlook what he had lost, and think only of what he might possibly gain?

‘No; I suppose not,’ said he, at last, in answer to Mr Harding. ‘We have all expected it for so long.’

Mr Harding took him by the arm and led him from the room. ‘We will see him again to-morrow morning,’ said he; ‘We had better leave the room now to the woman.’ And so they went downstairs.

It was already evening and nearly dark. It was most important that the prime minister should know that night that the diocese was vacant. Everything might depend on it; and so, in answer to Mr Harding’s further consolation, the archdeacon suggested that a telegraph message should be immediately sent off to London. Mr Harding who had really been somewhat surprised to find Dr Grantly, as he thought, so much affected, was rather taken aback; but he made no objection. He knew that the archdeacon had some hope of succeeding to his father’s place, though he by no means knew how highly raised that hope had been.

‘Yes,’ said Dr Grantly, collecting himself and shaking off his weakness, ‘We must send a message at once; we don’t know what might be the consequences of delay. Will you do it?’

‘I! Oh yes; certainly: I’ll do it, only I don’t know exactly what it is you want.’

Dr Grantly sat down before a writing table, and taking pen and ink, wrote on a slip of paper as follows:-

By Electric Telegraph,
For the Earl of -, Downing Street, or elsewhere. ‘The Bishop of Barchester is dead.’ Message sent by the Rev. Septimus Harding.

‘There,’ said he. ‘Just take that to the telegraph office at the railway station, and give it as it is; they’ll probably make you copy it on to one of their own slips; that’s all you’ll have to do: then you’ll have to pay them half-a-crown.’ And the archdeacon put his hand in his pocket and pulled out the necessary sum.

Mr Harding felt very much like an errand-boy, and also felt that he was called on to perform his duties as such at rather an unseemly time; but he said nothing, and took the slip of paper and the proffered coin.

‘But you’ve put my name into it, archdeacon.’

‘Yes,’ said the other, ‘There should be the name of some clergyman, you know, and what name so proper as that of so old a friend as yourself? The Earl won’t look at the name you may be sure of that; but my dear Mr Harding, pray don’t lose any time.’

Mr Harding got as far as the library door on his way to the station, when he suddenly remembered the news with which he was fraught when he entered to poor bishop’s bedroom. He had found the moment so inopportune for any mundane tidings, that he had repressed the words which were on his tongue, and immediately afterwards all recollection of the circumstance was for the time banished by the scene which had occurred.

‘But, archdeacon,’ said, he turning back, ‘I forgot to tell you–the ministry are out.’

‘Out!’ ejaculated the archdeacon, in a tone which too plainly showed the anxiety of his dismay, although under the circumstances of the moment he endeavoured to control himself: ‘Out! Who told you so?’

Mr Harding explained that news to this effect had come down by electric telegraph, and that the tidings had been left at the palace door by Mr Chadwick.

The archdeacon sat silent for awhile, meditating, and Mr Harding stood looking at him. ‘Never mind,’ said the archdeacon at last; ‘Send the message all the same. The news must be sent to some one, and there is at present no one else in a position to receive it. Do it at once, my dear friend; you know I would not trouble you, were I in a state to do it myself. A few minutes’ time is of the greatest importance.’

Mr Harding went out and sent the message, and it may be as well that we should follow it to its destination. Within thirty minutes of its leaving Barchester it reached the Earl of – in his inner library. What elaborate letters, what eloquent appeals, what indignant remonstrances, he might there have to frame, at such a moment, may be conceived, but not described! How he was preparing his thunder for successful rivals, standing like a British peer with his back to the sea-coal fire, and his hands in his breeches pockets,–how his fine eye was lit up with anger, and his forehead gleamed with patriotism,–how he stamped his foot as he thought of his heavy associates,–how he all but swore as he remembered how much too clever one of them had been,–my creative readers may imagine. But was he so engaged? No; history and truth compel me to deny it. He was sitting easily in a lounging chair, conning over a Newmarket list, and by his elbow on the table was lying open an uncut French novel on which he was engaged.

He opened the cover in which the message was enclosed, and having read it, he took his pen and wrote on the back of it–

‘For the Earl of -,
With the Earl of -‘s compliments,’

and sent off again on its journey.

Thus terminated our unfortunate friend’s chance of possessing the glories of a bishopric.

The names of many divines were given in the papers as that of the bishop elect. The British Grandmother declared that Dr Gwynne was to be the man, in compliment to the late ministry.

This was a heavy blow to Dr Grantly, but he was not doomed to see himself superseded by his friend. The Anglican Devotee put forward confidently the claims of a great London preacher of austere doctrines; and The Eastern Hemisphere, an evening paper supposed to possess much official knowledge, declared in favour of an eminent naturalist, a gentleman most completely versed in the knowledge of rocks and minerals, but supposed by many to hold on religious subjects no special doctrines whatever. The Jupiter, that daily paper which, as we all know, is the only true source of infallibly correct information on all subjects, for a while was silent, but at last spoke out. The merits of all these candidates were discussed and somewhat irreverently disposed of, and then The Jupiter declared that Dr Proudie was to be the man.

Dr Proudie was the man. Just a month after the demise of the late bishop, Dr Proudie kissed the Queen’s hand as his successor elect.

We must beg to be allowed to draw a curtain over the sorrows of the archdeacon as he sat, sombre and sad at heart, in the study of his parsonage at Plumstead Episcopi. On the day subsequent to the dispatch of the message he heard that the Earl of – had consented to undertake the formation of a ministry, and from that moment he knew that his chance was over. Many will think that he was wicked to grieve for the loss of episcopal power, wicked to have coveted it, nay, wicked even to have thought about it, in the way and at the moment he had done so.

With such censures, I cannot profess that I completely agree. The nolo episcopari, though still in use, is so directly at variance with the tendency of all human aspirations of rising priests in the Church of England. A lawyer does not sin in seeking to be a judge, or in compassing his wishes by all honest means. A young diplomat entertains a fair ambition when he looks forward to be the lord of a first-rate embassy; and a poor novelist when he attempts to rival Dickens or rise above Fitzjames, commits no fault, though he may be foolish.

Sydney Smith truly said that in these recreant days we cannot expect to find the majesty of St. Paul beneath the cassock of a curate. If we look to our clergymen to be more than men, we shall probably teach ourselves to think that they are less, and can hardly hope to raise the character of the pastor by denying to him the right to entertain the aspirations of a man.

Our archdeacon was worldly–who among us is not so? He was ambitious–who among us is ashamed to own that ‘last infirmity of noble minds!’ He was avaricious, my readers will say. No–it was not for love of lucre that he wished to be bishop of Barchester. He was his father’s only child, and his father had left him great wealth. His preferment brought him in nearly three thousand a year. The bishopric, as cut down by the Ecclesiastical Commission, was only five. He would be a richer man as archdeacon, than he could be as a bishop. But he certainly did desire to play first fiddle; he did desire to sit in full lawn sleeves amongst the peers of the realm; and he did desire, if the truth must be out, to be called ‘My Lord’ by the reverend brethren.

His hopes, however, were they innocent or sinful, were not fated to be realised; and Dr Proudie was consecrated Bishop of Barchester.



It is hardly necessary that I should here give to the public any lengthened biography of Mr Harding, up to the period of the commencement of this tale. The public cannot have forgotten how ill that sensitive gentleman bore the attack that was made upon him in the columns of the Jupiter, with reference to the income which he received as warden of Hiram’s Hospital, in the city of Barchester. Nor can it be forgotten that a law-suit was instituted against him on the matter of that charity by Mr John Bold, who afterwards married his, Mr Harding’s, younger and then only unmarried daughter. Under the pressure of these attacks, Mr Harding had resigned his wardenship, though strongly recommended to abstain from doing so, both by his friends and his lawyers. He did, however, resign it, and betook himself manfully to the duties of the small parish of St. Cuthbert’s, in the city, of which he was vicar, continuing also to perform those of precentor of the cathedral, a situation of small emoluments which had hitherto been supposed to be joined, as a matter of course, to the wardenship of the hospital above spoken of.

When he left the hospital from which he had been so ruthlessly driven, and settled himself down in his own modest manner in the High Street of Barchester, he had not expected that others would make more fuss about it than he was inclined to do himself; and the extent of his hope was, that the movement might have been made in time to prevent any further paragraphs in the Jupiter. His affairs, however, were not allowed to subside thus quietly, and people were quite as much inclined to talk about the disinterested sacrifice he had made, as they had before been to upbraid him for his cupidity.

The most remarkable thing that occurred, was the receipt of an autographed letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury, in which the primate very warmly praised his conduct, and begged to know what his intentions were for the future. Mr Harding replied that he intended to be rector of St. Cuthbert’s in Barchester; and so that matter dropped. Then the newspapers took up his case, the Jupiter among the rest, and wafted his name in eulogistic strains through every reading-room in the nation. It was discovered also, that he was the author of that great musical work, Harding’s Church Music,–and a new edition was spoken of, though, I believe, never printed. It is, however, certain that the work was introduced into the Royal Chapel at St James’s, and that a long criticism appeared in the Musical Scrutator, declaring that in no previous work of its kind had so much research been joined with such exalted musical ability, and asserting that the name of Harding would henceforward be known wherever the Arts were cultivated, or Religion valued.

This was high praise, and I will not deny that Mr Harding was gratified by such flattery; for if Mr Harding was vain on any subject, it was on that of music. But here the matter rested. The second edition, if printed, was never purchased; the copies which had been introduced into the Royal Chapel disappeared again, and were laid by in peace, with a load of similar literature. Mr Towers, of the Jupiter, and his brethren occupied themselves with other names, and the underlying fame promised to our friend was clearly intended to be posthumous.

Mr Harding had spent much of his time with his friend the bishop, much with his daughter Mrs Bold, now, alas, a widow; and had almost daily visited the wretched remnants of his former subjects, the few surviving bedesmen now left at Hiram’s Hospital. Six of them were still living. The number, according to old Hiram’s will, should always have been twelve. But after the abdication of their warden, the bishop had appointed no successor to him, and it appeared as though the hospital at Barchester would fall into abeyance, unless the powers that be should take some steps towards putting it once more into working order.

During the past five years the powers that be had not overlooked Barchester Hospital, and sundry political doctors had taken the matter in hand. Shortly after Mr Harding’s resignation, the Jupiter had very clearly shown what ought to be done. In about half a column it had distributed the income, rebuilt the building, put an end to all bickerings, regenerated kindly feeling, provided for Mr Harding, and placed the whole thing on a footing which could not but be satisfactory to the city and Bishop of Barchester, and to the nation at large. The wisdom of this scheme was testified by the number of letters which “Common Sense”, “Veritas”, and “One that loves fair play,” sent to the Jupiter, all expressing admiration and amplifying on the details given. It is singular enough that no adverse letter appeared at all, and, therefore, none of course was written.

But Cassandra was not believed, and even the wisdom of the Jupiter sometimes falls on deaf ears. Though other plans did not put themselves forward in the columns of the Jupiter, reformers of church charities were not slack to make known in various places their different nostrums for setting Hiram’s Hospital on its feet again. A learned bishop took occasion, in the Upper House, to allude to the matter, intimating that he had communicated on the subject with his right reverend brother of Barchester. The radical member for Staleybridge had suggested that the funds should be alienated for the education of the agricultural poor of the country, and he amused the House by some anecdotes touching the superstition and habits of the agriculturists in question. A political pamphleteer had produced a few dozen pages, which he called ‘Who are Hiram’s heirs?’ intending to give an infallible rule for the governance of such establishments; and, at last, a member of the government promised that in the next session a short bill should be introduced for regulating the affairs of Barchester, and other kindred concerns.

The next session came, and, contrary to custom, the bill came also. Men’s minds were then intent on other things. The first threatenings of a huge war hung heavily over the nation, and the question as to Hiram’s heirs did not appear to interest very many people either in or out of the House. The bill, however, was read and reread, and in some undistinguished manner passed through its eleven stages without appeal or dissent. What would John Hiram have said in the matter, could he have predicted that some forty-five gentlemen would take on themselves to make a law altering the whole purport of the will, without in the least knowing at the moment of their making it, what it was that they were doing? It is however to be hoped that the under secretary for the Home Office knew, for to him had the matter been confided.

The bill, however, did pass, and at the time at which this history is supposed to commence, it had been ordained that there should be, as heretofore, twelve old men in Barchester Hospital, each with 1s 4d a day; that there should also be twelve old women, each with 1s 2d a day; that there should be a matron with a house and L 70 a year; a steward with L 150 a year, who should have the spiritual guidance of that appertaining to the male sex. The bishop, dean, and warden, were, as formerly, to appoint in turn the recipients of the charity, and the bishop was to appoint the officers. There was nothing said as to the wardenship being held by the precentor of the cathedral, nor a word as to Mr Harding’s right to the situation.

It was not, however, till some months after the death of the old bishop, and almost immediately consequent on the installation of his successor, that notice was given that the reform was about to be carried out. The new law and the new bishop were among the earliest works of a new ministry, or rather of a ministry who, having for a while given place to their opponents, had then returned to power; and the death of Dr Grantly occurred, as we have seen, exactly at the period of change.

Poor Eleanor Bold! How well does that widow’s cap become her, and the solemn gravity with which she devotes to her new duties. Poor Eleanor!

Poor Eleanor! I cannot say that with me John Bold was ever a favourite. I never thought him worthy of the wife he had won. But in her estimation he was most worthy. Hers was one of those feminine hearts which cling to a husband, not with idolatry, for worship can admit of no defect in its idol, but with the perfect tenacity of ivy. As the parasite plant will follow even the defects of the trunk which it embraces, so did Eleanor cling to and love the very faults of her husband.

She had once declared that whatever her father did should in her eyes be right. She then transferred her allegiance, and became ever ready to defend the worst failings of her lord and master.

And John Bold was a man to be loved by a woman; he was himself affectionate, he was confiding and manly; and that arrogance of thought, unsustained by first-rate abilities, that attempt at being better than his neighbours which jarred so painfully on the feelings of his acquaintances, did not injure him in the estimation of his wife.

Could she even have admitted that he had a fault, his early death would have blotted out the memory of it. She wept as for the loss of the most perfect treasure with which mortal woman had ever been endowed; for weeks after he was gone the idea of future happiness in this world was hateful to her; consolation, as it is called, was insupportable, and tears and sleep were her only relief.

But God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb. She knew that she had within her the living source of other cares. She knew that there was to be created for her another subject of weal or woe, of unutterable joy or despairing sorrow, as God in his mercy might vouchsafe to her. At first this did not augment her grief! To be the mother of a poor infant, orphaned before it was born, brought forth to the sorrows of an ever desolate hearth, nurtured amidst tears and wailing, and then turned adrift into the world without the aid of a father’s care! There was at first no joy in this.

By degrees, however, her heart became anxious for another object, and, before its birth, the stranger was expected with all the eagerness of a longing mother. Just eight months after the father’s death a second John Bold was born, and if the worship of one creature can be innocent in another, let us hope that the adoration offered over the cradle of the fatherless infant may not be imputed as sin.

It will not be worth our while to define the character of the child, or to point out in how far the faults of the father were redeemed within that little breast by the virtues of the mother. The baby, as a baby, was all that was delightful, and I cannot foresee that it will be necessary for us to inquire into the facts of his after life. Our present business at Barchester will not occupy us above a year or two at the furthest, and I will leave it to some other pen to produce, if necessary, the biography of John Bold the Younger.

But, as a baby, this baby was all that could be desired. This fact no one attempted to deny. ‘Is he not delightful?’ she would say to her father, looking into his face from her knees, he lustrous eyes overflowing with soft tears, her young face encircled by her close widow’s cap and her hands on each side of the cradle in which her treasure was sleeping. The grandfather would gladly admit that the treasure was delightful, and the uncle archdeacon himself would agree, and Mrs Grantly, Eleanor’s sister, would re-echo the word with true sisterly energy; and Mary Bold–but Mary Bold was a second worshipper at the same shrine.

The baby was really delightful; he took his food with a will, struck out his toes merrily whenever his legs were uncovered, and did not have fits. These are supposed to be the strongest points of baby perfection, and in all these our baby excelled.

And in this the widow’s deep grief was softened, and a sweet balm was poured into the wound which she had thought nothing but death could heal. How much kinder is God to us than we are willing to be to ourselves! At the loss of every dear face, at the last going of every well beloved one, we all doom ourselves to an eternity of sorrow, and look to waste ourselves away in an ever-running fountain of tears. How seldom does such grief endure! How blessed is the goodness which forbids it to do so! ‘Let me ever remember my living friends, but forget them as soon as they are dead,’ was the prayer of a wise man who understood the mercy of God. Few perhaps would have the courage to express such a wish, and yet to do so would only be to ask for that release from sorrow, which a kind Creator almost always extends to us.

I would not, however, have it imagined that Mrs Bold forgot her husband. She really thought of him with all conjugal love, and enshrined his memory in the innermost centre of her heart. But yet she was happy in her baby. It was so sweet to press the living toy to her breast, and feel that a human being existed who did owe, and was to owe everything to her; whose daily food was drawn from herself; whose little wants could all be satisfied by her; whose infant tongue would make his first effort in calling her by the sweetest name a woman can hear. And so Eleanor’s bosom became tranquil, and she set about her new duties eagerly and gratefully.

As regards the concerns of the world, John Bold had left his widow in prosperous circumstances. He had bequeathed to her all that he possessed, and that comprised an income much exceeding what she or her friends thought necessary for her. It amounted to nearly a thousand a year; and when she reflected on its extent, her dearest hope was to hand it over, not only unimpaired, but increased, to her husband’s son, to her own darling, to the little man who now lay sleeping on her knee, happily ignorant of the cares which were to be accumulated in his behalf.

When John Bold died, she earnestly implored her father to come and live with her, but this Mr Harding declined, though for some weeks he remained with her as a visitor. He could not be prevailed upon to forego the possession of some small house of his own, and so remained in the lodgings he had first selected over a chemist’s shop in the High Street at Barchester.



This narrative is supposed to commence immediately after the installation of Dr Proudie. I will not describe the ceremony, as I do not precisely understand its nature. I am ignorant whether a bishop be chaired like a member of parliament, or carried in a gilt coach like a lord mayor, or sworn in like a justice of the peace, or introduced like a peer to the upper house, or led between two brethren like a knight of the garter; but I do know that every thing was properly done, and that nothing fit or becoming to a young bishop was omitted on the occasion.

Dr Proudie was not the man to allow anything to be omitted that might be becoming to his new dignity. He understood well the value of forms, and knew that the due observations of rank could not be maintained unless the exterior trappings belonging to it were held in proper esteem. He was a man born to move in high circles; at least so he thought himself and circumstances had certainly sustained him in this view. He was the nephew of a Irish baron by his mother’s side, and his wife was the niece of a Scottish earl. He had for years held some clerical office appertaining to courtly matters, which had enabled him to live in London, and to entrust his parish to his curate. He had been a preacher to the royal beefeaters, curator of theological manuscripts in the Ecclesiastical Courts, chaplain of the Queen’s Yeomanry Guard, and almoner to his Royal Highness the Prince of Rappe-Blankenburg.

His residence in the metropolis, rendered necessary by the duties entrusted to him, his high connections, and the peculiar talents and nature of the man, recommended him to persons in power; and Dr Proudie became known as a useful and rising clergyman.

Some few years since, even within the memory of many who are not yet willing to call themselves old, a liberal clergyman was a person not frequently to be met. Sydney Smith was such, and was looked on as a little better than an infidel; a few others also might be named, but they were ‘rarae aves’, and were regarded with doubt and distrust by their brethren. No man was so surely a tory as a country rector–nowhere were the powers that be so cherished as at Oxford.

When, however, Dr Whately was made an archbishop, and Dr Hampden some years afterwards regius professor, many wise divines saw that a change was taking place in men’s minds, and that more liberal ideas would henceforward be suitable to the priests as well as to the laity. Clergymen began to be heard of who had ceased to anathematise papists on the one hand, or vilify dissenters on the other. It appeared clear that high church principles, as they are called, were no longer to be the surest claims to promotion with at any rate one section of statesmen, and Dr Proudie was one among those who early in life adapted himself to the views held by the whigs on most theological and religious subjects. He bore with the idolatry of Rome, tolerated even the infidelity of Socinianism, and was hand and glove with the Presbyterian Synods of Scotland and Ulster.

Such a man at such a time was found to be useful, and Dr Proudie’s name began to appear in the newspapers. He was made one of a commission who went over to Ireland to arrange matters preparative to the working of the national board; he became honorary secretary to another commission nominated to inquire into the revenues of cathedral chapters; and had had something to do with both the regium donum and the Maynooth Grant.

It must not be on this account be taken as proved that Dr Proudie was a man of great mental powers, or even of much capacity for business, for such qualities had not been required in him. In the arrangement of those church reforms with which he was connected, the ideas and original conception of the work to be done were generally furnished by the liberal statesmen of the day, and the labour of the details was borne by officials of a lower rank. It was, however, thought expedient that the name of some clergyman should appear in such matters, and as Dr Proudie had become known as a tolerating divine, great use of this sort was made of his name. If he did not do much active good, he never did any harm; he was amenable to those who were really in authority, and at the sittings of the various boards to which he belonged maintained a kind of dignity which had its value.

He was certainly possessed of sufficient tact to answer the purpose for which he was required without making himself troublesome; but it must not therefore be surmised that he doubted his own power, or failed to believe that he could himself take a high part in high affairs when his own turn came. His was biding his time, and patiently looking forward to the days when he himself would sit authoritative at some board, and talk and direct, and rule the roost, while lesser stars sat round and obeyed, as he had so well accustomed himself to do.

His reward and his time had now come. He was selected for the vacant bishopric, and on the next vacancy which might occur in any diocese would take his place in the House of Lords, prepared to give not a silent vote in all matters concerning the weal of the church establishment. Toleration was to be the basis on which he was to fight his battles, and in the honest courage of his heart he thought no evil would come to him in encountering even such foes as his brethren of Exeter and Oxford.

Dr Proudie was an ambitious man, and before he was well consecrated Bishop of Barchester, he had begun to look up to archepiscopal splendour, and the glories of Lambeth, or at any rate of Bishopsthorpe. He was comparatively young, and had, as he fondly flattered himself, been selected as possessing such gifts, natural and acquired, as must be sure to recommend him to a yet higher notice, now that a higher sphere was opened to him. Dr Proudie was, therefore, quite prepared to take a conspicuous part in all theological affairs appertaining to these realms; and having such views, by no means intended to bury himself at Barchester as his predecessor had done. No: London should still be his ground: a comfortable mansion in a provincial city might be well enough for the dead months of the year. Indeed Dr Proudie had always felt it necessary to his position to retire from London when other great and fashionable people did so; but London should still be his fixed residence, and it was in London that he resolved to exercise that hospitality so peculiarly recommended to all bishops by St Paul. How otherwise could he keep himself before the world? How else give the government, in matters theological, the full benefit of his weight and talents?

This resolution was no doubt a salutary one as regarded the world at large, but was not likely to make him popular either with the clergy or the people of Barchester. Dr Grantly had always lived there; and in truth it was hard for a bishop to be popular after Dr Grantly. His income had averaged L 9000 a year; his successor was to be rigidly limited to L 5000. He had but one child on whom to spend his money; Dr Proudie had seven or eight. He had been a man of few personal expenses, and they had been confined to the tastes of a moderate gentleman; but Dr Proudie had to maintain a position in fashionable society, and had that to do with comparatively small means. Dr Grantly had certainly kept his carriages, as became a bishop; but his carriage, horses, and coachmen, though they did very well for Barchester, would have been almost ridiculous at Westminster. Mrs Proudie determined that her husband’s equipage should not shame her, and things on which Mrs Proudie resolved, were generally accomplished.

From all this it was likely to result that Dr Proudie would not spend much money at Barchester; whereas his predecessor had dealt with the tradesmen of the city in a manner very much to their satisfaction. The Grantlys, father and son, had spent their money like gentlemen; but it soon became whispered in Barchester that Dr Proudie was not unacquainted with those prudent devices by which the utmost show of wealth is produced from limited means.

In person Dr Proudie is a good-looking man; spruce and dapper, and very tidy. He is somewhat below middle height, being about five feet four; but he makes up for the inches which he wants by the dignity with which he carries those which he has. It is no fault of his own if he has not a commanding eye, for he studies hard to assume it. His features are well formed, though perhaps the sharpness of his nose may give to his face in the eyes of some people an air of insignificance. If so, it is greatly redeemed by his mouth and chin, of which he is justly proud.

Dr Proudie may well be said to have been a fortunate man, for he was not born to wealth, and he is now bishop of Barchester; but nevertheless he has his cares. He has a large family, of whom the three eldest are daughters, now all grown up and fit for fashionable life; and he has a wife. It is not my intention to breathe a word against the character of Mrs Proudie, but still I cannot think that with all her virtues she adds much to her husband’s happiness. The truth is that in matters domestic she rules supreme over her titular lord, and rules with a rod of iron. Nor is this all. Things domestic Dr Proudie might have abandoned to her, if not voluntarily, yet willingly. But Mrs Proudie is not satisfied with such home dominion, and stretches her power over all his movements, and will not even abstain from things spiritual. In fact, the bishop is henpecked.

The archdeacon’s wife, in her happy home at Plumstead, knows how to assume the full privileges of her rank, and express her own mind in becoming tone and place. But Mrs Grantly’s sway, if sway she has, is easy and beneficent. She never shames her husband; before the world she is a pattern of obedience; her voice is never loud, nor her looks sharp: doubtless she values power, and has not unsuccessfully striven to acquire it; but she knows what should be the limits of woman’s rule.

Not so Mrs Proudie. This lady is habitually authoritative to all, but to her poor husband she is despotic. Successful as has been his career in the eyes of the world, it would seem that in the eyes of his wife he is never right. All hope of defending himself has long passed from him; indeed he rarely even attempts self-justification; and is aware that submission produces the nearest approach to peace which his own house can ever attain.

Mrs Proudie has not been able to sit at the boards and committees to which her husband has been called by the state; nor, as he often reflects, can she make her voice heard in the House of Lords. It may be that she will refuse to him permission to attend to this branch of a bishop’s duties; it may be that she will insist on his close attendance to his own closet. He has never whispered a word on the subject to living ears, but he has already made his fixed resolve. Should such an attempt be made he will rebel. Dogs have turned against their masters, and even Neapolitans against their rulers, when oppression has been too severe. And Dr Proudie feels within himself that if the cord be drawn too tight, he also can muster courage and resist.

The state of vassalage in which our bishop had been kept by his wife has not tended to exalt his character in the eyes of his daughters, who assume in addressing their father too much of that authority which is not properly belonging, at any rate, to them. They are, on the whole, fine engaging young ladies. They are tall and robust like their mother, whose high cheek bones, and–we may say auburn hair, they all inherit. They think somewhat too much of their grand uncles, who have not hitherto returned the compliment by thinking much of them. But now that their father is a bishop, it is probable that family ties will be drawn closer. Considering their connection with the church, they entertain but few prejudices against the pleasures of the world; and have certainly not distressed their parents, as too many English girls have lately done, by any enthusiastic wish to devote themselves to the seclusion of a protestant nunnery. Dr Proudie’s sons are still at school.

One other marked peculiarity in the character of the bishop’s wife must be mentioned. Though not averse to the society and manners of the world, she is in her own way a religious woman; and the form in which this tendency shows itself in her is by a strict observance of the Sabbatarian rule. Dissipation and low dresses during the week are, under her control, atoned for by three services, an evening sermon read by herself, and a perfect abstinence from any cheering employment on Sunday. Unfortunately for those under her roof to whom the dissipation and low dresses are not extended, her servants namely and her husband, the compensating strictness of the Sabbath includes all. Woe betide the recreant housemaid who is found to have been listening to the honey of a sweetheart in the Regent’s Park, instead of the soul-stirring evening discourse of Mr Slope. Not only is she sent adrift, but she is so sent with a character which leaves her little hope of a decent place. Woe betide the six-foot hero who escorts Mrs Proudie to her pew in red plush breeches, if he slips away to the neighbouring beer-shop, instead of falling into the back seat appropriated to his use. Mrs Proudie has the eyes of Argus for such offenders. Occasional drunkenness in the week may be overlooked, for six feet on low wages are hardly to be procured if the morals are always kept at a high pitch; but not even for the grandeur or economy will Mrs Proudie forgive a desecration of the Sabbath.

In such matters, Mrs Proudie allows herself to be often guided by that eloquent preacher, the Rev. Mr Slope, and as Dr Proudie is guided by his wife, it necessarily follows that the eminent man we have named has obtained a good deal of control over Dr Proudie in matters concerning religion. Mr Slope’s only preferment has hitherto been that of reader and preacher in a London district church; and on the consecration of his friend the new bishop, he readily gave this up to undertake the onerous but congenial duties of domestic chaplain to the bishop.

Mr Slope, however, on his first introduction must not be brought before the public at the tail of a chapter.



Of the Rev. Mr Slope’s parentage I am not able to say much. I have heard it asserted that he is lineally descended from that eminent physician who assisted at the birth of Mr T. Shandy, and that in early years he added an ‘e’ to his name, for the sake of euphony, as other great men have done before him. If this be so, I presumed he was christened Obadiah, for that is his name, in commemoration of the conflict in which his ancestor so distinguished himself. All my researches on the subject have, however, failed in enabling me to fix the date on which the family changed its religion.

He had been a sizar at Cambridge, and had there conducted himself at any rate successfully, for in due process of time he was an MA, having university pupils under his care. From thence he was transferred to London, and became preacher at a new district church built on the confines of Baker Street. He was in this position when congenial ideas on religious subjects recommended him to Mrs Proudie, and the intercourse had become close and confidential.

Having been thus familiarly thrown among the Misses Proudie, it was more than natural that some softer feeling than friendship should be engendered. There have been some passages of love between him and the eldest hope, Olivia; but they have hitherto resulted in no favourable arrangement. In truth, Mr Slope, having made a declaration of affection, afterwards withdrew it on finding that the doctor had no immediate worldly funds with which to endow his child; and it may easily be conceived that Miss Proudie, after such an announcement on his part, was not readily disposed to receive any further show of affection. On the appointment of Dr Proudie to the bishopric of Barchester, Mr Slope’s views were, in truth, somewhat altered. Bishops, even though they be poor, can provide for clerical children, and Mr Slope began to regret that he had not been more disinterested. He no sooner heard the tidings of the doctor’s elevation, than he recommenced his siege, not violently, indeed, but respectfully, and at a distance. Olivia Proudie, however, was a girl of spirit: she had the blood of two peers in her veins, and, better still, she had another lover on her books; so Mr Slope sighed in vain; and the pair soon found it convenient to establish a mutual bond of inveterate hatred.

It may be thought singular that Mrs Proudie’s friendship for the young clergyman should remain firm after such an affair; but, to tell the truth, she had known nothing of it. Though very fond of Mr Slope herself, she had never conceived the idea that either of her daughters would become so, and remembering that their high birth and social advantages, expected for them matches of a different sort. Neither the gentleman nor the lady found it necessary to enlighten her. Olivia’s two sisters had each known of the affair, so had all the servants, so had all the people living in the adjoining houses on either side; but Mrs Proudie had been kept in the dark.

Mr Slope soon comforted himself with the reflection that, as he had been selected as chaplain to the bishop, it would probably be in his power to get the good things in the bishop’s gift, without troubling himself with the bishop’s daughter; and he found himself able to endure the pangs of rejected love. As he sat himself down in the railway carriage, confronting the bishop and Mrs Proudie, as they started on their first journey to Barchester, he began to form in his own mind a plan of his future life. He knew well his patron’s strong points, but he knew the weak ones as well. He understood correctly enough to what attempts the new bishop’s high spirit would soar, and he rightly guessed that public life would better suit the great man’s taste, than the small details of diocesan duty.

He, therefore, he, Mr Slope, would in effect be bishop of Barchester. Such was his resolve; and to give Mr Slope his due, he had both courage and spirit to bear him out in his resolution. He knew that he should have a hard battle to fight, for the power and patronage of the see would be equally coveted by another great mind–Mrs Proudie would also choose to be bishop of Barchester. Mr Slope, however, flattered himself that he could outmanoeuvre the lady. She must live much in London, while he would always be on the spot. She would necessarily remain ignorant of much while he would know everything belonging to the diocese. At first, doubtless, he must flatter and cajole, perhaps yield in some things; but he did not doubt of ultimate triumph. If all other means failed, he could join the bishop against the wife, inspire courage into the unhappy man, lay an axe to the rock of the woman’s power, and emancipate the husband.

Such were his thoughts as he sat looking at the sleeping pair in the railway carriage, and Mr Slope is not the man to trouble himself with such thoughts for nothing. He is possessed of more than average abilities, and is of good courage. Though he can stoop to fawn, and stoop low indeed, if need be, he has still within him the power to assume the tyrant; and with the power he has certainly the wish. His acquirements are not of the highest order, but such as they are they are completely under control, and he knows the use of them. He is gifted with a certain kind of pulpit eloquence, not likely, indeed, to be persuasive with men, but powerful with the softer sex. In his sermons he deals greatly in denunciations, excites the minds of his weaker hearers with a not unpleasant terror, and leaves an impression on their minds that all mankind are in a perilous state, and all womankind too, except those who attend regularly to the evening lectures in Baker Street. His looks and tones are extremely severe, so much so that one cannot but fancy that he regards the greater part of the world as being infinitely too bad for his care. As he walks through the streets, his very face denotes his horror of the world’s wickedness; and there is always an anathema lurking in the corner of his eye.

In doctrine, he, like his patron, is tolerant of dissent, if so strict a mind can be called tolerant of anything. With Wesleyan-Methodists he has something in common, but his soul trembles in agony at the iniquities of the Puseyites. His aversion is carried to things outward as well as inward. His gall rises at a new church with a high pitched roof; a full-breasted black silk waistcoat is with him a symbol of Satan; and a profane jest-book would not, in his view, more foully desecrate the church seat of a Christian, than a book of prayer printed with red letters, and ornamented with a cross on the back. Most active clergymen have their hobby, and Sunday observances are his. Sunday, however, is a word which never pollutes his mouth–it is always ‘the Sabbath’. The ‘desecration of the Sabbath’ as he delights to call it, is to him meat and drink:–he thrives upon that as policemen do on the general evil habits of the community. It is the loved subject of all his evening discourses, the source of all his eloquence, the secret of his power over the female heart. To him, the revelation of God appears in that one law given for Jewish observance. To him the mercies of our Saviour speak in vain, to him in vain has been preached that sermon that fell from the divine lips on the mountain–‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’–‘Blessed are the merciful, for the they shall obtain mercy’. To him the New Testament is comparatively of little moment, for from it can he draw no fresh authority for that dominion which he loves to exercise over at least a seventh part of man’s allotted time here below.

Mr Slope is tall, and not ill made. His feet and hands are large, as has ever been the case, with all his family, but he has a broad chest and wide shoulders to carry off these excrescences, and on the whole his figure is good. His countenance, however, is not specially prepossessing. His hair is lank, and of a dull pale reddish hue. It is always formed into three straight lumpy masses, each brushed with admirable precision, and cemented with much grease; two of them adhere closely to the sides of his face, and the other lies at right angles above them. He wears no whiskers, and is always punctiliously shaven. His face is nearly of the same colour as his hair, though perhaps a little redder: it is not unlike beef,–beef, however, one would say, of a bad quality. His forehead is capacious and high, but square and heavy, and unpleasantly shining. His mouth is large, though his lips are thin and bloodless; and his big, prominent, pale brown eyes inspire anything but confidence. His nose, however, is his redeeming feature: it is pronounced straight and well-formed; though I myself should have liked it better if it did not possess a somewhat spongy, porous appearance, as though it had been cleverly formed out of a red coloured cork.

I never could endure to shake hands with Mr Slope. A cold, clammy perspiration always exudes from him, the small drops are ever to be seen standing on his brow, and his friendly grasp is unpleasant.

Such is Mr Slope–such is the man who has suddenly fallen into the midst of Barchester Close, and is destined there to assume the station which has heretofore been filled by the son of the late bishop. Think, oh, my meditative reader, what an associate we have here for those comfortable prebendaries, those gentlemanlike clerical doctors, those happy well-used, well-fed minor canons, who have grown into existence at Barchester under the kindly wings of Bishop Grantly!

But not as a mere associate for those does Mr Slope travel down to Barchester with the bishop and his wife. He intends to be, if not their master, at least the chief among them. He intends to lead, and to have followers; he intends to hold the purse strings of the diocese, and draw round him an obedient herd of his poor and hungry brethren.

And here we can hardly fail to draw a comparison between the archdeacon and our new private chaplain; and despite the manifold faults of the former, one can hardly fail to make it much to his advantage.

Both men are eager, much too eager, to support and increase the power of their order. Both are anxious that the world should be priest-governed, though they have probably never confessed as much, even to themselves. Both begrudge any other kind of dominion held by man over man. Dr Grantly, if he admits the Queen’s supremacy in things spiritual, only admits it as being due to the quasi priesthood conveyed on the consecrating qualities of her coronation; and he regards things temporal as being by their nature subject to those which are spiritual. Mr Slope’s ideas of sacerdotal rule are of a quite different class. He cares nothing, one way or the other, for the Queen’s supremacy; these to his ears are empty words, meaning nothing. Forms he regards but little, and such titular expressions of supremacy, consecration, ordination, and the like, convey of themselves no significance to him. Let him be supreme who can. The temporal king, judge, or gaoler, can work but on the body. The spiritual master, if he have the necessary gifts, and can duly use them, has a wider field of empire. He works upon the soul. If he can make himself be believed, he can be all powerful over those who listen. If he is careful to meddle with none who are too strong in intellect, or too weak in flesh, he may indeed be supreme. And such was the ambition of Mr Slope.

Dr Grantly interfered very little with the worldly doings of those who were in any way subject to him. I do not mean to say that he omitted to notice misconduct among his clergy, immorality in his parish, or omissions in his family; but he was not anxious to do so where the necessity could be avoided. He was not troubled with a propensity to be curious, and as long as those around him were tainted with no heretical leaning towards dissent, as long as they fully and freely admitted the efficacy of Mother Church, he was willing that that mother should be merciful and affectionate, prone to indulgence, and unwilling to chastise. He himself enjoyed the good things of this world, and liked to let it be known that he did so. He cordially despised any brother rector who thought harm of dinner-parties, or dreaded the dangers of a moderate claret-jug; consequently dinner-parties and claret-jugs were common in the diocese. He liked to give laws and to be obeyed in them implicitly, but he endeavoured that his ordinances should be within the compass of the man, and not unpalatable to the gentleman. He had ruled among his clerical neighbours now for sundry years, and as he had maintained his power without becoming unpopular, it may be presumed that he had exercised some wisdom.

Of Mr Slope’s conduct much cannot be said, as his grand career is yet to commence; but it may be presumed that his tastes will be very different from those of the archdeacon. He conceives it to be his duty to know all the private doings and desires of the flock entrusted to his care. From the poorer classes he exacted and unconditional obedience to set rules of conduct, and if disobeyed he has recourse, like his great ancestor, to the fulminations of an Ernulfus: ‘Thou shalt be damned in thy going in and in thy coming out–in thy eating and thy drinking,’ &c &c &c. With the rich, experience has already taught him a different line of action is necessary. Men in the upper walks of life do not mind being cursed, and the women, presuming that it be done in delicate phrase, rather like it. But he has not, therefore, given up so important a portion of believing Christians. With the men, indeed, he is generally at variance; they are hardened sinners, on whom the voice of priestly charmer often falls in vain; but with the ladies, old and young, firm and frail, devout and dissipated, he is, as he conceives, all powerful. He can reprove faults with so much flattery, and utter censure in so caressing a manner, that the female heart, if it glow with a spark of low church susceptibility, cannot withstand him. In many houses he is thus an admired guest: the husbands, for their wives’ sake, are fain to admit him; and when once admitted it is not easy to shake him off. He has, however, a pawing, greasy way with him, which does not endear him to those who do not value him for their souls’ sake, and he is not a man to make himself at once popular in a large circle such as is now likely to surround him at Barchester.



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.

The archdeacon’s feelings were of a much stronger nature. He was not exactly the man to overlook his own slighted claims, or to forgive the preference shown to another. Dr Proudie was playing Venus to his Juno, and he was prepared to wage an internecine war against the owner of the wished for apple, and all his satellites private chaplains, and others.

Nevertheless, it behoved him also to conduct himself towards the intruder as an old archdeacon should conduct himself to an incoming bishop; and though he was well aware of all Dr Proudie’s abominable opinions as regarded dissenters, church reform, the hebdomadal council, and such like; though he disliked the man, and hated the doctrines, still he was prepared to show respect to the station of the bishop. So he and Mr Harding called together at the palace.

His lordship was at home, and the two visitors were shown through the accustomed hall into the well-known room, where the good old bishop used to sit. The furniture had been bought at a valuation, and every chair and table, every bookshelf against the wall, and every square in the carpet, was as well known to each of them as their own bedrooms. Nevertheless they at once felt that they were strangers there. The furniture was for the most part the same, yet the place had been metamorphosed. A new sofa had been introduced, and horrid chintz affair, most unprelatical and almost irreligious; such a sofa as never yet stood in the study of any decent high church clergyman of the Church of England. The old curtains had also given away. They had, to be sure, become dingy, and that which had been originally a rich and goodly ruby had degenerated into a reddish brown. Mr Harding, however, thought the old reddish brown much preferable to the gaudy buff-coloured trumpery moreen which Mrs Proudie had deemed good enough for her husband’s own room in the provincial city of Barchester.

Our friends found Dr Proudie sitting on the old bishop’s chair, looking very nice in his new apron; they found, too, Mr Slope standing on the hearthrug, persuasive and eager, just as the archdeacon used to stand; but on the sofa they also found Mrs Proudie, an innovation for which a precedent might be in vain be sought in all the annals of the Barchester bishopric!

There she was, however, and they could only make the best of her. The introductions were gone through in much form. The archdeacon shook hands with the bishop and named Mr Harding, who received such an amount of greeting as was due from a bishop to a precentor. His lordship then presented them to his lady wife; the archdeacon first, with archidiaconal honours, and then the precentor with diminished parade. After this Mr Slope presented himself. The bishop, it is true, did mention his name, and so did Mrs Proudie too, in a louder tone; but Mr Slope took it upon himself the chief burden of his own introduction. He had great pleasure in making himself acquainted with Dr Grantly; he had heard much of the archdeacon’s good works in that part of the diocese in which his duties as archdeacon had been exercised (thus purposely ignoring the archdeacon’s hitherto unlimited dominion over the diocese at large). He was aware that his lordship depended greatly on the assistance which Dr Grantly would be able to give him in that portion of the diocese. He then thrust out his hand, and grasping that of his new foe, bedewed it unmercifully. Dr Grantly in return bowed, looked stiff, contracted his eyebrows, and wiped his hand with his pocket-handkerchief. Nothing abashed, Mr Slope then noticed the precentor, and descended to the grade of the lower clergy. He gave him a squeeze of the hand, damp indeed, but affectionate, and was very glad to make the acquaintance of Mr -; oh, yes, Mr Harding; he had not exactly caught the name– ‘Precentor in the cathedral’ surmised Mr Slope. Mr Harding confessed that such was the humble sphere of his work. ‘Some parish duties as well,’ suggested Mr Slope. Mr Harding acknowledged the diminutive incumbency of St Cuthbert’s. Mr Slope then left him alone, having condescended sufficiently, and joined the conversation among the higher powers.

There were four persons there, each of whom considered himself the most important personage in the diocese; himself indeed, or herself, as Mrs Proudie was one of them; and with such a difference of opinion it was not probable that they would get on pleasantly together. The bishop himself actually wore the visible apron, and trusted mainly to that–to that and to his title, both being facts which could not be overlooked. The archdeacon knew his subject, and really understood the business of bishoping, which the others did not; and this was his strong ground. Mrs Proudie had her sex to back her, and her habit of command, and was nothing daunted by the high tone of Dr Grantly’s face and figure. Mr Slope had only himself and his own courage and tact to depend on, but he nevertheless was perfectly self-assured, and did not doubt but that he should soon get the better of weak men who trusted so much to externals, as both bishop and archdeacon appeared to do.

‘Do you reside in Barchester, Dr Grantly?’ asked the lady with the sweetest smile.

Dr Grantly explained that he lived in his own parish of Plumstead Episcopi, a few miles out of the city. Whereupon the lady hoped that the distance was not too great for country visiting, as she would be so glad to make the acquaintance of Mrs Grantly. She would take the earliest opportunity, after the arrival of her horses at Barchester; their horses were at present in London; their horses were not immediately coming down, as the bishop would be obliged in a few days, to return to town. Dr Grantly was no doubt aware that the bishop was at present much called upon by the ‘University Improvement Committee’: indeed, the Committee could not well proceed without him, as their final report had now to be drawn up. The bishop had also to prepare a scheme for the ‘Manufacturing Towns Morning and Evening Sunday School Society’, of which he was a patron, or president, or director, and therefore the horses would not come down to Barchester at present; but whenever the horses did come down, she would take the earliest opportunity of calling at Plumstead Episcopi, providing the distance was not too great for country visiting.

The archdeacon made his fifth bow: he had made one at each mention of the horses; and promised that Mrs Grantly would do herself the honour of calling at the palace on an early day. Mrs Proudie declared that she would be delighted: she hadn’t liked to ask, not being quite sure whether Mrs Grantly had horses; besides, the distance might have been &c, &c.

Dr Grantly again bowed, but said nothing. He could have bought every single individual possession of the whole family of the Proudies, and have restored them as a gift, without much feeling the loss; and had kept a separate pair of horses for the exclusive use of his wife since the day of their marriage; whereas Mrs Proudie had been hitherto jobbed about the streets of London at so much a month during the season; and at other times had managed to walk, or hire a smart fly from the livery stables.

‘Are the arrangements with reference to the Sabbath-day schools generally pretty good in your archdeaconry?’

‘Sabbath-day schools!’ repeated the archdeacon with an affectation of surprise. ‘Upon my word, I can’t tell; it depends mainly on the parson’s wife and daughters. There is none at Plumstead.’

This was almost a fib on the part of the Archdeacon, for Mrs Grantly has a very nice school. To be sure it is not a Sunday School exclusively, and is not so designated; but that exemplary lady always attends there an hour before church, and hears the children say their catechism, and sees that they are clean and tidy for church, with their hands washed, and their shoes tied; and Grisel and Florinda, her daughters, carry thither a basket of large buns, baked on the Saturday afternoon, and distribute them to all the children not especially under disgrace, which buns are carried home after church with considerable content, and eaten hot at tea, being then split and toasted. The children of Plumstead would indeed open their eyes if they heard their venerated pastor declare that there were no Sunday schools in the parish.

Mr Slope merely opened his eyes wider, and slightly shrugged his shoulders. He was not, however, prepared to give up his darling project.

‘I fear there is a great deal of Sabbath travelling here,’ said he, ‘on looking at the ‘Bradshaw’, I see that there are three trains in and three trains out every Sabbath. Could nothing be done to induce the company to withdraw them? Don’t you think, Dr Grantly, that a little energy might diminish the evil?’

‘Not being a director, I really can’t say. But if you can withdraw the passengers, their company, I dare say, will withdraw the trains,’ said the doctor. ‘It’s merely a question of dividends.’

‘But surely, Dr Grantly,’ said the lady, ‘surely we should look at it differently. You and I, for instance, in our position: surely we should do all that we can to control so grievous a sin. Don’t you think so, Mr Harding?’ and she turned to the precentor, who was sitting mute and unhappy.

Mr Harding thought that all porters and stokers, guards, breaksmen, pointsmen ought to have an opportunity of going to church, and he hoped that they all had.

‘But surely, surely,’ continued Mrs Proudie, ‘surely that is not enough. Surely that will not secure such an observance of the Sabbath as we are taught to conceive is not only expedient by indispensable; surely–‘

Come what come might, Dr Grantly was not to be forced into a dissertation on a point of doctrine with Mrs Proudie, nor yet with Mr Slope; so without much ceremony he turned his back upon the sofa, and began to hope that Dr Proudie had found the palace repairs had been such as to meet his wishes.

‘Yes, yes,’ said his lordship; upon the whole he thought so–upon the whole, he didn’t know that there was much ground for complaint; the architect, perhaps, might have–but his double, Mr Slope, who had sidled over to the bishop’s chair, would not allow his lordship to finish his ambiguous speech.

‘There is one point I would like to mention, Mr Archdeacon. His lordship asked me to step through the premises, and I see that the stalls in the second stable are not perfect.’

‘Why–there’s standing for a dozen horses,’said the archdeacon.

‘Perhaps so,’ said the other; ‘indeed, I’ve no doubt of it; but visitors, you know, often require so much accommodation. There are many of the bishop’s relatives who always bring their own horses.’

Dr Grantly promised that due provision for the relatives’ horses should be made, as far at least as the extent of the original stable building would allow. He would himself communicate with the architect.

‘And the coach-house, Dr Grantly,’ continued Mr Slope; ‘there is really hardly any room for a second carriage in the large coach-house, and the smaller one, of course, holds only one.’

‘And the gas,’ chimed in the lady; ‘there is no gas through the house, none whatever, but in the kitchen and passages. Surely the palace should have been fitted through with pipes for gas, and hot water too. There is no hot water laid on anywhere above the ground floor. Surely there should be the means of getting hot water in the bed-rooms without having it brought in jugs from the kitchen.’

The bishop had a decided opinion that there should be pipes for hot water. Hot water was very essential for the comfort of the palace. It was, indeed, a requisite in any decent gentleman’s house.

Mr Slope had remarked that the coping on the garden wall was in many places imperfect.

Mrs Proudie had discovered a large hole, evidently the work of rats, in the servants’ hall.

The bishop expressed an utter detestation of rats. There was nothing, he believed, in this world, that he so much hated as a rat.

Mr Slope had, moreover, observed that the locks of the out-houses were very imperfect: he might specify the coal-cellar, and the wood-house.

Mrs Proudie had also seen that those on the doors of the servants’ bedrooms were in an equally bad condition; indeed the locks all through the house were old-fashioned and unserviceable.

The bishop thought that a great deal depended on a good lock, and quite as much on the key. He had observed that the fault very often lay with the key, especially if the wards were in any way twisted.

Mr Slope was going on with his catalogue of grievances, when he was somewhat loudly interrupted by the archdeacon who succeeded in explaining that the diocesan architect, or rather his foreman, was the person to be addressed on such subjects; and that he, Dr Grantly, had inquired as to the comfort of the palace, merely as a point of compliment. He was very sorry, however, that so many things had been found amiss: and then he rose from his chair to escape.

Mrs Proudie, though she had contrived to lend her assistance in recapitulating the palatial dilapidations, had not on that account given up her hold of Mr Harding, nor ceased from her cross-examination as the iniquity of Sabbatical amusements. Over and over again had she thrown out her ‘surely, surely,’ at Mr Harding’s devoted head, and ill had that gentleman been able to parry the attack.

He had never before found himself subjected to such a nuisance. Ladies hitherto, when they had consulted him on religious subjects, had listened to what he might choose to say with some deference, and had differed, it they differed, in silence. But Mrs Proudie interrogated him, and then lectured. ‘Neither thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man servant, nor thy maid servant,’ said she, impressively, and more than once, as though Mr Harding had forgotten the words. She shook her finger at him as she quoted the favourite law, as though menacing him with punishment; and then called upon him categorically to state whether he did not think that travelling on the Sabbath was an abomination and a desecration.

Mr Harding had never been so hard pressed in his life. He felt that he ought to rebuke the lady for presuming so to talk to a gentleman and a clergyman so may years her senior; but he recoiled from the idea of scolding the bishop’s wife, in the bishop’s presence, on his first visit to the palace; moreover, to tell the truth, he was somewhat afraid of her. She, seeing him sit silent and absorbed, by no means refrained from the attack.

‘I hope, Mr Harding,’ said she, shaking her head slowly and solemnly, ‘I hope you will not leave me to think that you approve of Sabbath travelling,’ and she looked a look of unutterable meaning into his eyes.

There was no standing for this, for Mr Slope was now looking at him, and so was the bishop, and so was the archdeacon, who had completed his adieux on that side of the room. Mr Harding therefore got up also, and putting out his hand to Mrs Proudie, said: ‘If you will come to St Cuthbert’s some Sunday, I will preach you a sermon on the subject.’

And so the archdeacon and the precentor took their departure, bowing low to the lady, shaking hands with the lord, and escaping from Mr Slope in the best manner each could. Mr Harding was again maltreated; but Dr Grantly swore deeply in the bottom of his heart, that no earthly consideration should ever again induce him to touch the paw of that impure and filthy animal.

And now, had I the pen of a might poet, would I sing in epic verse the noble wrath of the archdeacon. The palace steps descend to a broad gravel sweep, from whence a small gate opens out into the street, very near the covered gateway leading to the close. The road from the palace door turns to the left, through the spacious gardens, and terminates on the London-road, half a mile from the cathedral.

Till they had passed this small gate and entered the close, neither of them spoke a word; but the precentor clearly saw from his companion’s face that a tornado was to be expected, nor was he himself inclined to stop it. Though, by nature far less irritable than the archdeacon, even he was angry: he even–that mild and courteous man–was inclined to express himself in anything but courteous terms.



‘Good heavens!’ exclaimed the archdeacon, as he placed his foot on the gravel walk of the close, and raising his hat with one hand, passed the other somewhat violently over his now grizzled locks; smoke issued from the uplifted beaver as it were a cloud of wrath, and the safety-valve of his anger opened, and emitted a visible steam, preventing positive explosion and probably apoplexy. ‘Good heavens!’–and the archdeacon looked up to the gray pinnacles of the cathedral tower, making a mute appeal to that still living witness which had looked down on the doings of so many bishops of Barchester.

‘I don’t think I shall ever like that Mr Slope,’ said Mr Harding.

‘Like him!’ roared the archdeacon, standing still for a moment to give more force to his voice; ‘like him!’ All the ravens of the close cawed their assent. The old bells of the tower, in chiming the hour, echoed the words; and the swallows flying out from their nests mutely expressed a similar opinion. Like Mr Slope! Why no, it was not very probable that any Barchester-bred living thing should like Mr Slope!

‘Nor Mrs Proudie either,’ said Mr Harding.

The archdeacon thereupon forgot himself. I will not follow his example, nor shock my readers by transcribing the term in which he expressed his feelings as to the lady who had been named. The ravens and the last lingering notes of the clock bells were less scrupulous, and repeated in corresponding echoes the very improper exclamation. The archdeacon again raised his hat; and another salutary escape of steam was effected.

There was a pause, during which the precentor tried to realise the fact that the wife of the bishop of Barchester had been thus designated, in the close of the cathedral, by the lips of its own archdeacon: but he could not do it.

‘The bishop seems a quiet man enough,’ suggested Mr Harding, having acknowledged to himself his own failure.

‘Idiot!’ exclaimed the doctor, who for the nonce was not capable of more than spasmodic attempts at utterance.

‘Well, he did not seem very bright,’ said Mr Harding, ‘and yet he has always had the reputation of a clever man. I suppose he’s cautious and not inclined to express himself very freely.’

The new bishop of Barchester was already so contemptible a creature in Dr Grantly’s eyes, that he could not condescend to discuss his character. He was a puppet to be played by others; a mere wax doll, done up in an apron and a shovel hat, to be stuck on a throne or elsewhere and pulled about by wires as others chose. Dr Grantly did not choose to let himself down low enough to talk about Dr Proudie; but he saw that he would have to talk about the other members of his household, the coadjutor bishops, who had brought his lordship down, as it were, in a box, and were about to handle the wires as they willed. This in itself was a terrible vexation to the archdeacon. Could he have ignored the chaplain, and have fought the bishop, there would have been, at any rate, nothing degrading in such a contest. Let the Queen make whom she would bishop of Barchester; a man, or even an ape, when once a bishop, would be a respectable adversary, if he would but fight, himself. But what was such a person as Dr Grantly to do, when such another person as Mr Slope was put forward as his antagonist?

If he, our archdeacon, refused to combat, Mr Slope would walk triumphant over the field, and have the diocese of Barchester under his heel.

If, on the other hand, the archdeacon accepted as his enemy the man whom the new puppet bishop put before him as such, he would have to talk about Mr Slope, and write about Mr Slope, and in all matters treat with Mr Slope, as a being standing, in some degree, on ground similar to his own. He would have to meet Mr Slope; to–Bah! The idea was sickening. He could not bring himself to have to do with Mr Slope.

‘He is the most thoroughly bestial creature that ever I set my eyes upon,’ said the archdeacon.

‘Who–the bishop?’

‘Bishop! No–I’m not talking about the bishop. How on earth such a creature got ordained!–they’ll ordain anybody now, I know; but he’s been in the church these ten years; and they used to be a little careful ten years ago.’

‘Oh! You mean Mr Slope.’

‘Did you ever see any animal less like a gentleman?’

‘I can’t say I felt myself much disposed to like him.’

‘Like him!’ again shouted the doctor, and the assenting ravens again cawed an echo; ‘of course you don’t like him; it’s not a question of liking. But what are we to do with him?’

‘Do with him?’ asked Mr Harding.

‘Yes–what are we to do with him? How are we to treat him? There he is, and there he’ll stay. He has put his foot in that palace, and he will never take it out again till he’s driven. How are we to get rid of him?’

‘I don’t suppose he can do us much harm.’

‘Not do harm!–Well I think you’ll find yourself of a different opinion before a month is gone. What would you say now, if he got himself put into the hospital? Would that be harm?’

Mr Harding mused awhile, and then said he didn’t think the new bishop would put Mr Slope into the hospital.

‘If he doesn’t put him there, he’ll put him somewhere else where he’ll be as bad. I tell you that that man, to all intents and purposes, will be Bishop of Barchester;’ and again, Dr Grantly raised his hat, and rubbed his hand thoughtfully and sadly over his head.

‘Impudent scoundrel!’ he exclaimed after a while. ‘To dare to cross-examine me about Sunday schools in the diocese, and Sunday travelling too: I never in my life met his equal for sheer impudence. Why, he must have thought we were two candidates for ordination.’

‘I declare I thought Mrs Proudie the worst of the two,’ said Mr Harding.

‘When a woman is impertinent one must only put up with it, and keep out of her way in future; but I am not inclined to put up with Mr Slope. “Sabbath travelling!”‘ and the doctor attempted to imitate the peculiar drawl of the man he so much disliked: ‘”Sabbath travelling!” Those are the sort of men who will ruin the Church of England, and make the profession of clergyman disreputable. It is not the dissenters or the papists that we should fear, but the set of canting, low-bred hypocrites who are wriggling their way in among us; men who have no fixed principle, no standard ideas of religion or doctrine, but who take up some popular cry, as this fellow has done about “Sabbath travelling.”‘

Dr Grantly did not again repeat the question aloud, but he did so constantly to himself, ‘What were they to do with Mr Slope?’ How was he openly, before the world, to show that he utterly disapproved of and abhorred such a man?

Hitherto Barchester had escaped the taint of any extreme rigour of church doctrine. The clergymen of the city and the neighbourhood, though very well inclined to promote high-church principles, privileges, and prerogatives, had never committed themselves to tendencies, which are somewhat too loosely called Puseyite practices. They all preached in their black gowns, as their fathers had done before them; they wore ordinary black cloth waistcoats; they had not candles on their altars, either lighted or unlighted; they made no private genuflexions, and were contented to confine themselves to such ceremonial observances as had been in vogue for the last hundred years. The services were decently and demurely read in their parish churches, chanting was confined to the cathedral, and the science of intoning was unknown. One young man who had come direct from Oxford as a curate at Plumstead had, after the lapse of two or three Sundays, made a faint attempt, much to the bewilderment of the poorer part of the congregation. Dr Grantly had not been present on the occasion; but Mrs Grantly, who had her own opinion on the subject, immediately after the service expressed a hope that the young gentleman had not been taken ill, and offered to send him all kinds of condiments supposed to be good for a sore throat. After that there had been no more intoning at Plumstead Episcopi.

But now the archdeacon began to meditate on some strong measures of absolute opposition. Dr Proudie and his crew were of the lowest possible order of Church of England clergymen, and therefore it behoved him, Dr Grantly, to be of the very highest. Dr Proudie would abolish all forms and ceremonies, and therefore Dr Grantly felt the sudden necessity of multiplying them. Dr Proudie would consent to deprive the church of all collective authority and rule, and therefore Dr Grantly would stand up for the full power of convocation, and the renewal of its ancient privileges.

It was true that he could not himself intone the service, but he could pressure the co-operation of any number of gentlemanlike curates well trained in the mystery of doing so. He would not willingly alter his own fashion of dress, but he could people Barchester with young clergymen dressed in the longest frocks, and the highest breasted silk waistcoats. He certainly was not prepared to cross himself, or to advocate the real presence; but, without going this length, there were various observances, by adopting which he could plainly show his antipathy to such men as Dr Proudie and Mr Slope.

All these things passed through his mind as he paced up and down the close with Mr Harding. War, war, internecine war was in his heart. He felt that as regarded himself and Mr Slope, one of the two must be annihilated as far as the city of Barchester was concerned; and he did not intend to give way until there was not left to him an inch of ground on which he could stand. He still flattered himself that he could make Barchester too hot to hold Mr Slope, and he had no weakness of spirit to prevent his bringing about such consummation if it were in his power.

‘I suppose Susan must call at the palace,’ said Mr Harding.

‘Yes, she shall call there; but it shall be once and once only. I dare say “the horses” won’t find it convenient to come to Plumstead very soon, and when that once is done the matter may drop.’

‘I don’t suppose Eleanor need call. I don’t think Eleanor would get on at all well with Mrs Proudie.’

‘Not the least necessity in life,’ replied the archdeacon, not without the reflection that a ceremony which was necessary for his wife, might not be at all binding on the widow of John Bold. ‘Not the slightest reason on earth why she should do so, if she doesn’t like it. For myself, I don’t think that any decent young woman should be subjected to the nuisance of being in the same room with that man.’

And so the two clergymen parted. Mr Harding going to his daughter’s house, and the archdeacon seeking the seclusion of his brougham.

The new inhabitants of the palace did not express any higher opinion of their visitors than their visitors had expressed of them. Though they did not use quite such strong language as Dr Grantly had done, they felt as much personal aversion, and were quite as well aware as he was that there would be a battle to be fought, and that there was hardly room for Proudieism in Barchester as long as Grantlyism was predominant.

Indeed, it may be doubted whether Mr Slope had not already within his breast a better prepared system of strategy, a more accurately-defined line of hostile conduct than the archdeacon. Dr Grantly was going to fight because he found that he hated the man. Mr Slope had predetermined to hate the man because he foresaw the necessity of fighting him. When he had first reviewed the carte de pays, previous to his entry into Barchester, the idea had occurred to him of conciliating the archdeacon, of cajoling and flattering him into submission, and of obtaining the upper hand by cunning instead of courage. A little inquiry, however, sufficed to convince him that all his cunning would fail to win over such a man as Dr Grantly to such a mode of action as that to be adopted by Mr Slope; and then he determined to fall back upon his courage. He at once saw that open battle against Dr Grantly and all Dr Grantly’s adherents was a necessity of his position, and he deliberately planned the most expedient method of giving offence.

Soon after his arrival the bishop had intimated to the dean that, with the permission of the canon then in residence, his chaplain would preach in the cathedral on the next Sunday. The canon in residence happened to be the Honourable and Reverend Dr Vesey Stanhope, who at this time was very busy on the shores of Lake Como, adding to that unique collection of butterflies for which he is so famous. Or, rather, he would have been in residence but for the butterflies and other such summer-day considerations; and the vicar-choral, who was to take his place in the pulpit, by no means objected to having his word done for him by Mr Slope.

Mr Slope accordingly preached, and if a preacher can have satisfaction in being listened to, Mr Slope ought to have been gratified. I have reason to think that he was gratified, and that he left the pulpit with the conviction that he had done what he intended to do when he entered it.

On this occasion the new bishop took his seat for the first time in the throne allotted to him. New scarlet cushions and drapery had been prepared, with new gilt binding and new fringe. The old carved oak-wood of the throne, ascending with its numerous grotesque pinnacles, half-way up to the rood of the choir, had been washed, and dusted, and rubbed, and it all looked very smart. Ah! How often sitting there, in happy early days, on those lowly benches in front of the altar, have I whiled away the tedium of a sermon considering how best I might thread my way up amidst those wooden towers, and climb safely to the topmost pinnacle!

All Barchester went to hear Mr Slope; either for that or to gaze at the new bishop. All the best bonnets of the city were there, and moreover all the best glossy clerical hats. Not a stall but had its fitting occupant; for though some of the prebendaries might be away in Italy or elsewhere, their places were filled by brethren, who flocked into Barchester on the occasion. The dean was there, a heavy old man, now too old, indeed, to attend frequently in his place; and so was the archdeacon. So also were the chancellor, the treasurer, the precentor, sundry canons and minor canons, and every lay member of the choir, prepared to sing the new bishop in with due melody and harmonious expression of sacred welcome.

The service was certainly well performed. Such was always the case at Barchester, as the musical education of the choir had been good, and the voices had been carefully selected. The psalms were beautifully chanted; the Te Deum was magnificently sung; and the litany was given in a manner, which is still to be found at Barchester, but, if my taste be correct, is to be found nowhere else. The litany of Barchester cathedral has long been the special task to which Mr Harding’s skill and voice have been devoted. Crowded audiences generally make good performers, and though Mr Harding was not aware of any extraordinary exertion on his part, yet probably he rather exceeded his usual mark. Others were doing their best, and it was natural that he should emulate his brethren. So the service went on, and at last Mr Slope got into the pulpit.

He chose for his text a verse from the precept addressed by St Paul to Timothy, as to the conduct necessary in a spiritual pastor and guide, and it was immediately evident that the good clergy of Barchester were to have a lesson.

‘Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.’ These were the words of the text, and with such a subject in such a place, it may be supposed that such a preacher would be listened to by such an audience. He was listened to with breathless attention, and not without considerable surprise. Whatever opinion of Mr Slope might have been held in Barchester before he commenced, his discourse, none of his hearers, when it was over, could mistake him for either a fool or a coward.

It would not be becoming were I to travesty a sermon, or even repeat the language of it in the pages of a novel. In endeavouring to depict the characters of the persons of whom I write, I am to a certain extent forced to speak of sacred things. I trust, however, that I shall not be thought to scoff at the pulpit, though some may imagine that I do not feel the reverence that is due to the cloth. I may question the infallibility of the teachers, but I hope that I shall not therefore be accused of doubt as to the thing to be taught.

Mr Slope, in commencing his sermon, showed no slight tact in his ambiguous manner of hinting that, humble as he was himself, he stood there as the mouthpiece of the illustrious divine who sat opposite to him; and having presumed so much, he gave forth a very accurate definition of the conduct which that prelate would rejoice to see in the clergymen now brought under his jurisdiction. It is only necessary to say, that the peculiar points insisted on were exactly those which were most distasteful to the clergy of the diocese, and most averse to their practices and opinions; and that all those peculiar habits and privileges which have always been dear to high-church priests, to that party which is now scandalously called the high-and-dry church, were ridiculed, abused, and anathematised. Now, the clergymen of the diocese of Barchester are all of the high-and-dry church.

Having thus, according to his own opinion, explained how a clergyman should show himself approved unto God, as a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, he went on to explain how the word of truth should be divided; and here he took a rather narrow view of the question; and fetched arguments from afar. His object was to express his abomination of all ceremonious modes of utterance, to cry down any religious feeling which might be excited, not by the sense, but by the sound of words, and in fact to insult the cathedral practices. Had St Paul spoken of rightly pronouncing instead of rightly dividing the word of truth, this part of his sermon would have been more to the purpose; but the preacher’s immediate object was to preach Mr Slope’s doctrine, and not St Paul’s, and he contrived to give the necessary twist to the text with some skill.

He could not exactly say, preaching from a cathedral pulpit, that chanting should be abandoned in cathedral services. By such an assertion, he would have overshot his mark and rendered himself absurd, to the delight of his hearers. He could, however, and did, allude with heavy denunciations to the practice of intoning in parish churches, although the practice was not but unknown in the diocese; and from thence he came round to the undue preponderance, which he asserted, music over meaning in the beautiful service which they had just heard. He was aware, he said, that the practices of our ancestors could not be abandoned at a moment’s notice; the feelings of the aged would be outraged, and the minds of respectable men would be shocked. There were many, he was aware, of not sufficient calibre of thought to perceive, of not sufficient education to know, that a mode of service, which was effective when outward ceremonies were of more moment than inward feelings, had become all but barbarous at a time when inward conviction was everything, when each word of the minister’s lips should fall intelligibly into the listener’s heart. Formerly the religion of the multitude had been an affair of the imagination: now, in these latter days, it had become necessary that a Christian should have a reason for his faith–should not only believe, but digest–not only hear, but understand. The words of our morning service, how beautiful, how apposite, how intelligible they were, when read with simple and distinct decorum! But how much of the meaning of the words was lost when they were produced with all the meretricious charms of melody! &c &c.

Here was a sermon to be preached before Mr Archdeacon Grantly, Mr Precentor Harding, and the rest of them! Before a whole dean and chapter assembled in their own cathedral! Before men who had grown old in the exercise of their peculiar services, with a full conviction of their excellence for all intended purposes! This too from such a man, a clerical parvenu, a man without a cure, a mere chaplain, an intruder among them; a fellow raked up, so said Dr Grantly, from the gutters of Marylebone! They had to sit through it! None of them, not even Dr Grantly, could close his ears, nor leave the house of God during the hours of service. They were under an obligation of listening, and that too, without any immediate power of reply.

There is, perhaps, no greater hardship at present inflicted on mankind in civilised and free countries than the necessity of listening to sermons. No one but a preaching clergyman has, in these realms, the power of compelling audiences to sit silent, and be tormented. No one but a preaching clergyman can revel in platitudes, truisms, and untruisms, (sic) and yet receive, as his undisputed privilege, the same respectful demeanour as though words of impassioned eloquence, or persuasive logic, fell from his lips. Let a professor of law or physic find his place in a lecture-room, and there pour forth jejune words and useless empty phrases, and he will pour them forth to empty benches. Let a barrister attempt to talk without talking well, and he will talk but seldom. A judge’s charge need be listened to per force by none but the jury, prisoner, and gaoler (sic). A member of parliament can be coughed down or counted out. Town-councillors can be tabooed. But no one can rid himself of the preaching clergyman. He is the bore of the age, the old man whom we Sindbads cannot shake off, the nightmare that disturbs our Sunday’s rest, the incubus that overloads our religion and makes God’s service distasteful. We are not forced into church! No: but we desire more than that. We desire not to be forced to stay away. We desire, nay, we are resolute, to enjoy the comfort of public worship; but we desire also that we may do so without an amount of tedium which ordinary human nature cannot endure with patience; that we may be able to leave the house of God without that anxious longing for escape, which is the common consequence of common sermons.

With what complacency will a young parson deduce false conclusions from misunderstood texts, and then threaten us with all the penalties of Hades if we neglect to comply with the injunctions he has given us! Yes, my too self-confident juvenile friend, I do believe in those mysteries, which are so common in your mouth; I do believe in the unadulterated word which you hold there in your hand; but you must pardon me if, in some things, I doubt your interpretation. The bible is good, the prayer-book is good, nay, you yourself would be acceptable, if you would read to me some portion of those time-honoured discourses which our great divines have elaborated in the full maturity of their powers. But you must excuse me, my insufficient young lecturer, if I yawn over your imperfect sentences, your repeated phrases, your false pathos, your drawlings (sic) and denouncings (sic), your humming and hawing, your oh-ing and ah-ing, your black gloves and your white handkerchief. To me, it all means nothing; and hours are too precious to be so wasted–if one could only avoid it.

And here I must make a protest against the pretence, so often put forward by the working clergy, that they are overburdened by the multitude of sermons to be preached. We are all too fond of our own voices, and a preacher is encouraged in the vanity of making his heard by the privilege of a compelled audience. His sermon is the pleasant morsel of his life, his delicious moment of self-exaltation. ‘I have preached nine sermons this week, four the week before. I have preached twenty-three sermons this month. It is really too much.’ ‘Too much for the strength of any one.’ ‘Yes,’ he answered meekly, ‘indeed it is; I am beginning to feel it painfully.’ ‘Would,’ said I, ‘you could feel it–would that you could be made to feel it.’ But he never guessed that my heart was wrung for the poor listeners.

There was, at any rate, no tedium felt in listening to Mr Slope on the occasion in question. His subject came too home to his audience to be dull; and, to tell the truth, Mr Slope had the gift of using words forcibly. He was heard through his thirty minutes of