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12. CHAPTER XII: SLOPE VERSUS HARDING (continued)
'I will take an early opportunity of seeing his lordship myself,' said Mr Harding.
'Such an arrangement,' said Mr Slope, 'will hardly give his lordship satisfaction. Indeed, it is impossible that the bishop should himself see every clergyman in the diocese on every subject of patronage that may arise. The bishop, I believe, did see you on the matter, and I really cannot see why he should be troubled to do so again.'
'Do you know, Mr Slope, how long I have been officiating as a clergyman in this city?' Mr Slope's wish was now nearly fulfilled. Mr Harding had become very angry, and it was probable that he might commit himself.
'I really do not see what that has to do with the question. You cannot think that the bishop would be justified in allowing you to regard as a sinecure a situation that requires an active man, merely because you have been employed for many years in the cathedral.'
'But it might induce the bishop to see me, if I asked him to do so. I shall consult my friends in this matter, Mr Slope; but I mean to be guilty of no subterfuge,--you may tell the bishop that as I altogether disagree with his views about the hospital, I shall decline the situation if I find that any such conditions are attached to it as those you have suggested;' and so saying, Mr Harding took his hat and went his way.
Mr Slope was contented. He considered himself at liberty to accept Mr Harding's last speech as an absolute refusal of the appointment. At least, he so represented it to the bishop and to Mrs Proudie.
'That is very surprising,' said the bishop.
'Not at all,' said Mrs Proudie; 'you little know how determined the whole set of them are to withstand your authority.'
'But Mr Harding was so anxious for it,' said the bishop.
'Yes,' said Mr Slope, 'if he can hold it without the slightest acknowledgement of your lordship's jurisdiction.'
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