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12. CHAPTER XII: SLOPE VERSUS HARDING (continued)
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 L 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.'
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