Chapters 21-30Chapter 21: St. Ewold's parsonage.
Harding and Eleanor arrive at Plumstead. Eleanor tells Susan how Slope was at the Stanhopes, which, along with her defence of him arouses her sister's suspicions, of which her sister is unaware. The archdeacon thinks that Eleanor deliberately deceived him when she said Slope would be absent. The next day they all go to St. Ewold's parsonage, and light chat between Eleanor and Arabin about a priest's need for a priestess brings them into closer contact. Eleanor is impressed by how seriously Arabin takes his religion.
Chapter 22: The Thornes of Ullathorne.
The reader is introduced to the Thornes, with whom Arabin, the archdeacon and Eleanor are to have lunch between services the following Sunday, when Arabin is to preach his first sermon. The Thornes are both unmarried, ultra-conservative, traditionalist and live together in Ullathorne Court, a Tudor manor house that Trollope goes to great length in describing.
Chapter 23: Mr. Arabin reads himself in at St. Ewold's.
Arabin preaches well and is well received by his congregation. The conversation at lunch with the Thornes is banal and after the archdeacon's sermon in the afternoon he, Arabin and Eleanor return together to Plumstead.
Chapter 24: Mr. Slope manages matters very cleverly at Puddingdale.
Two weeks pass well at Plumstead. The archdeacon, wondering how to obtain direct contact with the bishop, is advised by Arabin to enlist Dr. Gwynne's help. Slope visits Quiverful and tells him that the offer of the wardenship was on the condition of Harding refusing it, and that he now wants it. Quiverful is disappointed but backs down despite his wife's anticipation of disaster. Slope goes to try to obtain the bishop's support for Harding.
Chapter 25: Fourteen arguments in favour of Mr. Quiverful's claims.
Mrs. Quiverful, unbeknownst to her husband, goes to see Mrs. Proudie about their situation. Mrs. Proudie, on the warpath, goes to see the bishop with Mrs. Quiverful's plaintive reminder that the fate of fourteen children is at stake ringing in her ears.
Chapter 26: Mrs. Proudie wrestles and gets a fall.
When Mrs. Proudie goes to her husband he is with Slope. Slope tells her he is subject only to the bishop. She tries to make him leave, but on asking her husband who should go he replies that he has important business with Slope and she leaves. Slope, feeling his ascendancy, asserts that the bishop should stand up to his wife in order to keep his dignity and he decides to accept an invitation from the archbishop which he had previously refused on account of his wife not being included, but will not award Harding the wardenship without first seeing him. Mrs. Proudie sees Mrs. Quiverful and blames Mr. Quiverful for weakness in having given up his claim, but says she will do all in her power to further his cause.
Chapter 27: A love scene.
Slope writes an overly familiar letter to Eleanor informing her of the certainty of her father receiving the wardenship. Having dropped it at her house he visits Signora Neroni, who sensing his divided feelings for her and Eleanor, forces a declaration of love from him and also makes him lie when she asks if he will marry Eleanor, while making him see that he would not marry her and the hypocrisy that is involved in his love for her in view of his professed Christian faith.
Chapter 28: Mrs. Bold is entertained by Dr. and Mrs. Grantly at Plumstead.
Harding and the archdeacon call at Eleanor's house and pick up Slope's letter, which they believe must be part of his romancing, the latter telling Harding that he should open it and do anything needed to put an end to the matter. Harding defends his daughter's right to free choice. Eleanor is pleased by the letter's news but annoyed by its tone. Dinner is strained as all know of the letter and perceive it in the same way as the archdeacon. After dinner Eleanor defends Slope to Susan, not realising she is suspected of being romantically linked with Slope. She shows her father the letter and he is angry at its tone and also that Slope should be acting on his behalf, something he believes was encouraged by Eleanor but does not voice, thus leaving the misunderstanding standing. The archdeacon asks to see Eleanor.
Chapter 29: A serious interview.
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