Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


This was high praise, and I will not deny that Mr Harding was gratified by such flattery; for if Mr Harding was vain on any subject, it was on that of music. But here the matter rested. The second edition, if printed, was never purchased; the copies which had been introduced into the Royal Chapel disappeared again, and were laid by in peace, with a load of similar literature. Mr Towers, of the Jupiter, and his brethren occupied themselves with other names, and the underlying fame promised to our friend was clearly intended to be posthumous.

Mr Harding had spent much of his time with his friend the bishop, much with his daughter Mrs Bold, now, alas, a widow; and had almost daily visited the wretched remnants of his former subjects, the few surviving bedesmen now left at Hiram's Hospital. Six of them were still living. The number, according to old Hiram's will, should always have been twelve. But after the abdication of their warden, the bishop had appointed no successor to him, and it appeared as though the hospital at Barchester would fall into abeyance, unless the powers that be should take some steps towards putting it once more into working order.

During the past five years the powers that be had not overlooked Barchester Hospital, and sundry political doctors had taken the matter in hand. Shortly after Mr Harding's resignation, the Jupiter had very clearly shown what ought to be done. In about half a column it had distributed the income, rebuilt the building, put an end to all bickerings, regenerated kindly feeling, provided for Mr Harding, and placed the whole thing on a footing which could not but be satisfactory to the city and Bishop of Barchester, and to the nation at large. The wisdom of this scheme was testified by the number of letters which "Common Sense", "Veritas", and "One that loves fair play," sent to the Jupiter, all expressing admiration and amplifying on the details given. It is singular enough that no adverse letter appeared at all, and, therefore, none of course was written.

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