The New Campaign

The archdeacon did not return to the parsonage till close upon the hour of dinner, and there was therefore no time to discuss matters before that important ceremony. He seemed to be in an especial good humour, and welcomed his father–in–law with a sort of jovial earnestness that was usual with him when things on which was intent were going on as he would have them.

‘It’s all settled, my dear,’ said he to his wife as he washed his hands in his dressing–room, while she, according to her wont, sat listening in the bedroom; ‘Arabin has agreed to accept the living. He’ll be here next week.’ And the archdeacon scrubbed his hands and rubbed his face with a violent alacrity, which showed that Arabin’s coming was a great point gained.

‘Will he come here to Plumstead?’ said the wife.

‘He has promised to stay a month with us,’ said the archdeacon, ‘so that he may see what his parish is like. You’ll like Arabin very much. He’s a gentleman in every respect, and full of good humour.’

‘He’s very queer, isn’t he?’ asked the wife.

‘Well—he is a little odd in some of his fancies; but there’s nothing about him you won’t like. He is as staunch a churchman as there is at Oxford. I really don’t know what we should do without Arabin. It’s a great thing for me to have him so near me; and if anything can put Slope down, Arabin will do it.’

The Reverend Francis Arabin was a fellow of Lazarus, the favoured disciple of the great Dr Gwynne, a high churchman at all points; so high, indeed, that at one period of his career he had all but toppled over into the cesspool of Rome; a poet and also a polemical writer, a great pet in the common rooms at Oxford, an eloquent clergyman, a droll, odd, humorous, energetic, conscientious man, and, as the archdeacon had boasted of him, a thorough gentleman. As he will hereafter be brought more closely to our notice, it is now only necessary to add, that he had just been presented to the vicarage of St Ewold by Dr Grantly, in whose gift as archdeacon the living lay. St Ewold’s is a parish lying just without the city of Barchester. The suburbs of the new town, indeed, are partly within its precincts, and the pretty church and parsonage are not much above a mile distant from the city gate.

St Ewold is not a rich piece of preferment—it is worth some three or four hundred a year, at most, and has generally been held by a clergyman attached to the cathedral choir. The archdeacon, however, felt, when the living on this occasion became vacant, that it imperatively behoved him to aid the force of his party with some tower of strength, if any such tower could be got to occupy St Ewold’s. He had discussed the matter with his brethren in Barchester; not in any weak spirit as the holder of patronage to be used for his own or his family’s benefit, but as one to whom was committed a trust, on the due administration of which much of the church’s welfare might depend. He had submitted to them the name of Mr Arabin, as though the choice had rested with them all in conclave, and they had unanimously admitted that, if Mr Arabin would accept St Ewold’s no better choice could possibly be made.

If Mr Arabin would accept St Ewold’s! There lay the difficulty. Mr Arabin was a man standing somewhat prominently before the world, that is, before the Church of England world. He was not a rich man, it is true, for he held no preferment but his fellowship; but he was a man not over anxious for riches, not married of course, and one whose time was greatly taken up in discussing, both in print and on platforms, the privileges and practices of the church to which he belonged. As the archdeacon had done battle for its temporalities, so did Mr Arabin do battle for its spiritualities; and both had done so conscientiously; that is, not so much each for his own benefit as for that of others.

Holding such a position as Mr Arabin did, there was much reason to doubt whether he would consent to become the parson of St Ewold’s, and Dr Grantly had taken the trouble to go himself to Oxford on the matter. Dr Gwynne and Dr Grantly together had succeeded in persuading this eminent divine that duty required him to go Barchester. There were wheels within wheels in this affair. For some time past Mr Arabin had been engaged in a tremendous controversy with no less a person than Mr Slope, respecting the apostolic succession. These two gentlemen had never seen each other, but they had been extremely

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