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The Warden

The Conference
On the following morning the archdeacon was with his father betimes, and a note was
sent down to the warden begging his attendance at the palace. Dr Grantly, as he cogitated
on the matter, leaning back in his brougham as he journeyed into Barchester, felt that it
would be difficult to communicate his own satisfaction either to his father or his father-
in-law. He wanted success on his own side and discomfiture on that of his enemies. The
bishop wanted peace on the subject; a settled peace if possible, but peace at any rate till
the short remainder of his own days had spun itself out. Mr Harding required not only
success and peace, but he also demanded that he might stand justified before the world.
The bishop, however, was comparatively easy to deal with; and before the arrival of the
other, the dutiful son had persuaded his father that all was going on well, and then the
warden arrived.
It was Mr Harding's wont, whenever he spent a morning at the palace, to seat himself
immediately at the bishop's elbow, the bishop occupying a huge arm-chair fitted up with
candle- sticks, a reading table, a drawer, and other paraphernalia, the position of which
chair was never moved, summer or winter; and when, as was usual, the archdeacon was
there also, he confronted the two elders, who thus were enabled to fight the battle against
him together; and together submit to defeat, for such was their constant fate.
Our warden now took his accustomed place, having greeted his son-in-law as he entered,
and then affectionately inquired after his friend's health. There was a gentleness about the
bishop to which the soft womanly affection of Mr Harding particularly endeared itself,
and it was quaint to see how the two mild old priests pressed each other's hand, and
smiled and made little signs of love.
'Sir Abraham's opinion has come at last,' began the archdeacon. Mr Harding had heard so
much, and was most anxious to know the result.
'It is quite favourable,' said the bishop, pressing his friend's arm. 'I am so glad.'
Mr Harding looked at the mighty bearer of the important news for confirmation of these
glad tidings.
'Yes,' said the archdeacon; 'Sir Abraham has given most minute attention to the case;
indeed, I knew he would--most minute attention; and his opinion is--and as to his opinion
on such a subject being correct, no one who knows Sir Abraham's character can doubt--
his opinion is, that they hav'n't got a leg to stand on.'
'But as how, archdeacon?'
'Why, in the first place:--but you're no lawyer, warden, and I doubt you won't understand
it; the gist of the matter is this:--under Hiram's will two paid guardians have been selected
 
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