Friday, September 16, 2016
A slippery Slope, as the plot quickens in Trollope's Barchester Towers
The stakes get (a little) higher in Trollope's Barchester Towers as a high-level church position opens w/ the death of "the dean" (do we ever even learn his name? He's a minor character who plays no role whatsoever until he dies), and the odious Mr. Slope, sinecure to Bishop Proudie,starts maneuvering his way toward an appointment to that position: He half-convinces the Bishop that he would be the right choice. The Bishop has been feeling pretty terrible having crossed his termagant wife and sided w/ Slope on the appointment of Harding to be warden of the "hospital" (a very cushy and well-paid job with minimal responsibilities); this has led to a rift between Bishop and Mrs. Proudie - Trollope discretely opts not to tell us what went down between them when they retired to the bedroom - and now the Bishop is looking for a way to heal the rift. One way: he tells Slope he might consider himf or the appointment but that he needs Slope to back off on the Harding appointment and go w/ the candidate favored by Mrs. Proudie (guy named Quiverful, with 14 children). Slope quickly acquiesces; he doesn't give a damn about selling Harding down the river (he supported him only as a way to win the affections of his widowed daughter, Eleanor Bold - now he may not need her anyway, and he remains smitten w/ the beautiful Signora, a married woman no less). Don't we have a suspicion that Slope will get what he deserves, which is to say, nothing? Don't we have a suspicion that Mrs. Proudie will get her revenge? The plot quickens.