Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


This friendliness was everything to Mr Quiverful. To him, even in his poverty, the thought that he was supplanting a brother clergyman so kind and courteous as Mr Harding, had been very bitter. Under his circumstances it had been impossible for him to refuse the proffered boon; he could not reject the bread that was offered to his children, or refuse to ease the heavy burden that had so long oppressed that poor wife of his; nevertheless, it had been very grievous to him to think that in going to the hospital he might encounter the ill will of his brethren in the diocese. All this Mr Harding had fully comprehended. It was for such feelings as these, for the nice comprehension of such motives, that his heart and intellect were peculiarly fitted. In most matters of worldly import the archdeacon set down his father-in-law as little better than a fool. And perhaps he was right. But in some other matters, equally important if they be rightly judged, Mr Harding, had he been so minded, might with as much propriety have set down his son-in-law for a fool. Few men, however, are constituted as was Mr Harding. He had that nice appreciation of the feelings of others which belongs of right exclusively to women.

Arm in arm they walked into the inner quadrangle of the building, and there the five old men met them. Mr Harding shook hands with them all, and then Mr Quiverful did the same. With Bunce Mr Harding shook hands twice, and Mr Quiverful was about to repeat the ceremony but the old man gave him no encouragement.

'I am very glad to know that at last you have a new warden,' said Mr Harding in a very cheery voice.

'We be very old for any change,' said one of them; 'but we do suppose it be all for the best.'

'Certainly--certainly, it is for the best,' said Mr Harding. 'You will again have a clergyman of your own church under the same roof with you, and a very excellent clergyman you will have. It is a great satisfaction to me to know that so good a man is coming to take care of you, and that it is no stranger, but a friend of my own, who will allow me from time to time to come in and see you.'

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