either accept the hospital with abject submission, or else refuse it altogether; and had calculated that he would probably be more quick to do the latter, if he could be got to enter upon the subject in all ill–humour. Perhaps Mr Slope was not altogether wrong in his calculation.

It was nearly ten when Mr Slope hurried into the room, and, muttering something about the bishop and diocesan duties, shook Mr Harding’s hand ruthlessly, and begged him to be seated.

Now the airy superiority which this man assumed, did go against the grain of Mr Harding; and yet he did not know how to resent it. The whole tendency of his mind and disposition was opposed to any contra–assumption of grandeur on his own part, and he hadn’t the worldly spirit or quickness necessary to put down insolent pretensions by downright and open rebuke, as the archdeacon would have done. There was nothing for Mr Harding but to submit and he accordingly did so.

‘About the hospital, Mr Harding,’ began Mr Slope, speaking of it as the head of college at Cambridge might speak of some sizarship which had to be disposed of.

Mr Harding crossed one leg over the other, and then one hand over the other on the top of them, and looked Mr Slope in the face; but he said nothing.

‘It’s to be filled up again,’ said Mr Slope. Mr Harding said that he had understood so.

‘Of course, you know, the income is very much reduced,’ continued Mr Slope. ‘The bishop wished to be liberal, and he therefore told the government that he thought it ought to be put at not less than £ 450. I think on the whole the bishop was right; for though the service required will not be of a very onerous nature, they will be more so than they were before. And it is, perhaps, well that the clergy immediately attached to the cathedral town should be made comfortable to the extent of the ecclesiastical means at our disposal will allow. Those are the bishop’s ideas, and I must say mine also.’

Mr Harding sat rubbing one hand on the other, but said not a word.

‘So much for the income, Mr Harding. The house will, of course, remain to the warden as before. It should, however, I think be stipulated that he should paint inside every seven years, and outside every three years, and be subject to dilapidations, in the event of vacating either by death or otherwise. But this is a matter on which the bishop must yet be consulted.’

Mr Harding still rubbed his hands, and still sat silent, gazing up into Mr Slope’s unprepossessing face.

‘Then, as to duties,’ continued he, ‘I believe, if I am rightly informed, there can hardly be said to have been any duties hitherto,’ and he gave a sort of half laugh, as though to pass off the accusation in the guise of a pleasantry.

Mr Harding thought of the happy, easy years he had passed in his old house; of the worn–out, aged men whom he had succoured; of his good intentions; and of his work, which had certainly been of the lightest. He thought of those things, doubting for a moment whether he did or did not deserve the sarcasm. He gave his enemy the benefit of the doubt, and did not rebuke him. He merely observed, very tranquilly, and perhaps with too much humility, that the duties of the situation, such as they were, had, he believed, been done to the satisfaction of the late bishop.

Mr Slope again smiled, and this time the smile was intended to operate against the memory of the late bishop, rather than against the energy of the ex–warden; and so it was understood by Mr Harding. The colour rose in his cheeks, and he began to feel very angry.

‘You should be aware, Mr Harding, that things are a good deal changed in Barchester,’ said Mr Slope.

Mr Harding said that he was aware of it. ‘And not only in Barchester, Mr Harding, but in the world at large. It is not only in Barchester that a new man is carrying out new measures and casting away the

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