Part 1 out of 11
software or any other related product without express permission.]
David J. Cole
by Anthony Trollope
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
VII The Dean and Chapter Take Counsel
VIII The Ex-Warden Rejoices in 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 Very Cleverly 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 F?te Champ?tre
XXXVI Ullathorne Sports--Act I.
XXXVII The Countess De Courcy, Mrs. Proudie, and the Signora
Neroni 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 Mr. 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 Beelzebub Colt
L The Archdeacon Is Satisfied with the State of Affairs
LI Mr. Slope Bids Farewell to the Palace and Its Inhabitants
LII The New Dean Takes Possession of the Deanery, and the New
Warden of the Hospital
Who Will Be the New Bishop?
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 that
chair with meek authority, took place exactly as the ministry of Lord
----- was going to give place to that of 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.
It was pretty well understood that the outgoing premier had made his
selection and that if the question rested with him, the mitre would
descend on the head of Archdeacon Grantly, the old bishop's son. The
archdeacon had long managed the affairs of the diocese, and for some
months previous to the demise of his father rumour had confidently
assigned to him the reversion of his father's honours.
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 were 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 by, 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 thing was settled.
At this time the bishop was quite on his last legs; but the ministry
also were 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 with 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
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 outgoing men during this 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 on such a
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 old 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
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 bedroom
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 also have
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
low with solemn face; "his lordship's gone more like a sleeping babby
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 as 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
consoling 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, minutes were too precious to be lost. It was now
useless 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 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 women." 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 consequence of delay. Will you do it?'
"I! Oh, yes; certainly. I'll do anything, 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 in 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
"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 the 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
"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
his anxiety and 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 someone,
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
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 Ear1 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 be 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
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 it off again on its journey.
Thus terminated our unfortunate friend's chances 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 awhile 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
moments 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 wishes that it cannot be thought to express
the true 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 Fitzjeames, 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
for no 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
bishop. But he certainly did desire to play first fiddle; he did
desire to sit in full lawn sleeves among the peers of the realm; and
he did desire, if the truth must out, to be called "My lord" by his
His hopes, however, were they innocent or sinful, were not fated to
be realized, and Dr. Proudie was consecrated Bishop of Barchester.
Hiram's Hospital According to Act of Parliament
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 on 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 yet be forgotten that a lawsuit 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 pressure of these attacks, Mr. Harding had resigned his
wardenship, though strongly recommended to abstain from doing so both
by his friends and by 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
emolument 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; 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 the 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 undying fame promised to our friend was clearly intended to be
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 remnant 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, no new occupants of the
charity had been nominated, 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 buildings, 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 John Hiram's heirs?"
intended to give an infallible rule for the governance of all such
establishments; 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 re-read, 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 his 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
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 to be located in a
house to be built, each with 1s. 2d. a day; that there should be a
matron, with a house and £70 a year; a steward with £150 a year; and
latterly a warden with £450 a year, who should have the spiritual
guidance of both establishments and the temporal 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
awhile 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 the change.
Poor Eleanor Bold! How well does that widow's cap be-come her, and
the solemn gravity with which she devotes herself to her new duties.
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 acquaintance 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 but 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 a 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 up into his face from her knees, her 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 thus 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 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 daily 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
little heart would first love her and her only; whose infant tongue
would make its 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; 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 home of his own and so remained
in the lodgings he had first selected over a chemist's shop in the
High Street of Barchester.
Dr. and Mrs. Proudie
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 like a justice of 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 everything
was properly done 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 observance 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 an Irish baron by his mother's
side, and his wife was the niece of a Scotch 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 preacher to the royal beefeaters, curator of
theological manuscripts in the Ecclesiastical Courts, chaplain to the
Queen's yeomanry guard, and almoner to his Royal Highness the Prince
His residence in the metropolis, rendered necessary by duties thus
entrusted to him, his high connexions, 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
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 anathematize
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 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 Socianianism, 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; be became honorary secretary to
another commission nominated to inquire into the revenues of
cathedral chapters; he had had something to do with both the regium
donum and the Maynooth grant.
It must not 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 be could himself take a high part in high
affairs when his own turn came. He 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
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 archiepiscopal
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
to 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 people of Barchester. Dr. Grantly had always lived there--in
truth, it was hard for a bishop to be popular after Dr. Grantly. His
income had averaged £9,000 a year; his successor was to be rigidly
limited to £5,000. 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 carriage as became a bishop, but his
carriage, horses, and coachman, 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
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; 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 hen-
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 a
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 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
The state of vassalage in which our bishop has 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 connexion
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
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 the 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 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 his lordship.
Mr. Slope, however, on his first introduction must not be brought
before the public at the tail of a chapter.
The Bishop's Chaplain
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 presume 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 M.A.,
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
no 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 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, as had all
the servants, as 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 reflexion 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 his wife, inspire courage into the unhappy man,
lay an axe to the root of the woman's power, and emancipate the
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
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 all his power over the female heart. To
him the revelation of God appears only 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 which fell from divine
lips on the mountain--"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit
the earth"--"Blessed are the merciful, for 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
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 did it not possess a somewhat spongy,
porous appearance, as though it had been cleverly formed out of a
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
But not as a mere associate for these 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
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
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 so 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 in 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
quite a 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
as 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 be 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 premised 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 exacts an
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 that 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 the
priestly charmer too 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
A Morning Visit
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; 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 that 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 the conversation in
such an interview. In the affair of the consecration 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 he
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, a 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 way. 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
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 hearth-rug, 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 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 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 his 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 duty 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 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 her
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
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 his 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
"Are the arrangements with reference to the Sabbath-day schools
generally pretty good in your archdeaconry?" asked Mr. Slope.
"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 for 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 was no
Sunday-school in his parish.
Mr. Slope merely opened his wide eyes wider and slightly shrugged his
shoulders. He was not, however, prepared to give up his darling
"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 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, the 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, brakesmen,
and 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 but
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 that 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 there for a dozen horses," said the
"Perhaps so," said the other; "indeed, I've no doubt of it; but
visitors, you know, often require so much accommodation. There are
so 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
"And the coach-house, Dr. Grantly," continued Mr. Slope; "there is
really hardly 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
bedrooms 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
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 outhouses
were very imperfect: he might specify the coal-cellar and the
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 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-
examinations as to 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
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, if they differed, in silence. But Mrs. Proudie
interrogated him and then lectured. "Neither thou, nor thy son, nor
thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant," 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 many 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 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 that
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 mighty 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 into 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
Till they had both 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
"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 forth 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 probable 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
"Nor Mrs. Proudie either," said Mr. Harding.
The archdeacon hereupon forgot himself. I will not follow his
example, nor shock my readers by transcribing the term in which he
expressed his feeling 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 correspondent 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 realize the
fact that the wife of a 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 to be 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 such 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 the combat, Mr. Slope would walk
triumphant over the field and have the diocese of Barchester under
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
"He is the most thoroughly bestial creature that ever I set my eyes
upon," said the archdeacon.
"Who--the bishop?" asked the other innocently.
"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?" asked Dr.
"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'll 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
"Impudent scoundrel!" he continued after a while. "To dare to cross-
examine me about the 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 was the worst of the two," said Mr.
"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 a 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 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 no 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 to
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 all its ancient privileges.
It was true that he could not himself intone the service, but he
could procure 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 in 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 a 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 out 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 reflexion 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, that there was
hardly room for Proudieism in Barchester as long as Grantlyism was
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 du 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 methods 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 Hon. and Rev. Dr. Vesey Stanhope, who at
this time was very busy on the shores of the Lake of 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 work 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 alloted 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 roof 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 in 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 very 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
in 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 precepts 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 his 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 either for a fool
or a coward.
It would not be becoming were I to travesty a sermon, or even to
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 all 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
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 mouth-piece of the illustrious divine who sat opposite
to him; and having premised 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 upon were exactly
those which were most distasteful to the clergy of the diocese and
most averse to their practice 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 anathematized.
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 his 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 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 all but unknown in the diocese;
and from thence he came round to the undue preponderance which, he
asserted, music had 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
There is, perhaps, no greater hardship at present inflicted on
mankind in civilized and free countries than the necessity of
listening to sermons. No one but a preaching clergyman has, in these
realms, the power of compelling an audience to sit silent and be
tormented. No one but a preaching clergyman can revel in platitudes,
truisms, and untruisms 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 physics find his place in a lecture-room and there pour
forth jejune words and useless empty phrases, and he will pour them
Back to Full Books