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47. CHAPTER XLVII: THE DEAN ELECT (continued)
'I should think so,' said the archdeacon.
'But, all the same, I am afraid that I can't accept it.'
The decanter almost fell from the archdeacon's had upon the table; and the start he made was so great as to make his wife jump from her chair. Not accept the deanship! If it really ended in this, there would be no longer any doubt that his father-in-law was demented. The question now was whether a clergyman with low rank, and preferment amounting to less than 200 pounds a year, should accept high rank, 1200 pounds a year, and one of the most desirable positions which his profession had to afford!
'What!' said the archdeacon, gasping for breath, and staring at his guest as though the violence of his emotion had almost thrown him into a fit.
'I do not find myself fit for new duties,' urged Mr Harding.
'New duties! what duties?' said the archdeacon, with unintended sarcasm.
'Oh, papa,' said Mrs Grantly, 'nothing can be easier that what a dean has to do. Surely you are more active than Dr Trefoil.'
'He won't have half as much to do as at present,' said Dr Grantly.
'Did you see what the Jupiter said the other day about young men?'
'Yes; and I saw that the Jupiter said all that it could to induce the appointment of Mr Slope. Perhaps you would wish to see Mr Slope made dean.'
Mr Harding made no reply to this rebuke, though he felt it strongly. He had not come over to Plumstead to have further contention with his son-in-law about Mr Slope, so he allowed it to pass by.
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