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

‘Who—the bishop?’

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

‘Oh! You mean Mr Slope.’

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

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

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

‘Do with him?’ asked Mr Harding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hitherto Barchester had escaped the taint of any extreme rigour of church doctrine. The clergymen of the city and the neighbourhood, though very well inclined to promote high–church principles, privileges, and prerogatives, had never committed themselves to tendencies, which are somewhat too loosely called

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