The Warden

The Warden

by Anthony Trollope

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Overview

The Rev. Septimus Harding was, a few years since, a beneficed clergyman residing in the cathedral town of ----; let us call it Barchester. Were we to name Wells or Salisbury, Exeter, Hereford, or Gloucester, it might be presumed that something personal was intended; and as this tale will refer mainly to the cathedral dignitaries of the town in question, we are anxious that no personality may be suspected. Let us presume that Barchester is a quiet town in the West of England, more remarkable for the beauty of its cathedral and the antiquity of its monuments than for any commercial prosperity; that the west end of Barchester is the cathedral close, and that the aristocracy of Barchester are the bishop, dean, and canons, with their respective wives and daughters.

Early in life Mr Harding found himself located at Barchester. A fine voice and a taste for sacred music had decided the position in which he was to exercise his calling, and for many years he performed the easy but not highly paid duties of a minor canon. At the age of forty a small living in the close vicinity of the town increased both his work and his income, and at the age of fifty he became precentor of the cathedral.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780368372841
Publisher: Blurb, Inc.
Publication date: 10/03/2019
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.46(d)

About the Author

Geoffrey Harvey is a Senior Lecturer in English at The University of Reading. He is the author of a number of books on British literature, including The Art of Anthony Trollope.

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The Warden


By Anthony Trollope

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 2016 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-3965-9


CHAPTER 1

HIRAM'S HOSPITAL


The Rev. Septimus Harding was, a few years since, a beneficed clergyman residing in the cathedral town of ––––; let us call it Barchester. Were we to name Wells or Salisbury, Exeter, Hereford, or Gloucester, it might be presumed that something personal was intended; and as this tale will refer mainly to the cathedral dignitaries of the town in question, we are anxious that no personality may be suspected. Let us presume that Barchester is a quiet town in the West of England, more remarkable for the beauty of its cathedral and the antiquity of its monuments than for any commercial prosperity; that the west end of Barchester is the cathedral close, and that the aristocracy of Barchester are the bishop, dean, and canons, with their respective wives and daughters.

Early in life Mr Harding found himself located at Barchester. A fine voice and a taste for sacred music had decided the position in which he was to exercise his calling, and for many years he performed the easy but not highly paid duties of a minor canon. At the age of forty a small living in the close vicinity of the town increased both his work and his income, and at the age of fifty he became precentor of the cathedral.

Mr Harding had married early in life, and was the father of two daughters. The eldest, Susan, was born soon after his marriage; the other, Eleanor, not till ten years later.

At the time at which we introduce him to our readers he was living as precentor at Barchester with his youngest daughter, then twenty-four years of age; having been many years a widower, and having married his eldest daughter to a son of the bishop a very short time before his installation to the office of precentor.

Scandal at Barchester affirmed that had it not been for the beauty of his daughter, Mr Harding would have remained a minor canon; but here probably Scandal lied, as she so often does; for even as a minor canon no one had been more popular among his reverend brethren in the close than Mr Harding; and Scandal, before she had reprobated Mr Harding for being made precentor by his friend the bishop, had loudly blamed the bishop for having so long omitted to do something for his friend Mr Harding. Be this as it may, Susan Harding, some twelve years since, had married the Rev. Dr Theophilus Grantly, son of the bishop, archdeacon of Barchester, and rector of Plumstead Episcopi, and her father became, a few months later, precentor of Barchester Cathedral, that office being, as is not unusual, in the bishop's gift.

Now there are peculiar circumstances connected with the precentorship which must be explained. In the year 1434 there died at Barchester one John Hiram, who had made money in the town as a wool-stapler, and in his will he left the house in which he died and certain meadows and closes near the town, still called Hiram's Butts, and Hiram's Patch, for the support of twelve superannuated wool-carders, all of whom should have been born and bred and spent their days in Barchester; he also appointed that an alms-house should be built for their abode, with a fitting residence for a warden, which warden was also to receive a certain sum annually out of the rents of the said butts and patches. He, moreover, willed, having had a soul alive to harmony, that the precentor of the cathedral should have the option of being also warden of the almshouses, if the bishop in each case approved.

From that day to this the charity had gone on and prospered — at least, the charity had gone on, and the estates had prospered. Wool-carding in Barchester there was no longer any; so the bishop, dean, and warden, who took it in turn to put in the old men, generally appointed some hangers-on of their own; worn-out gardeners, decrepit gravediggers, or octogenarian sextons, who thankfully received a comfortable lodging and one shilling and fourpence a day, such being the stipend to which, under the will of John Hiram, they were declared to be entitled. Formerly, indeed, — that is, till within some fifty years of the present time, — they received but sixpence a day, and their breakfast and dinner was found them at a common table by the warden, such an arrangement being in stricter conformity with the absolute wording of old Hiram's will: but this was thought to be inconvenient, and to suit the tastes of neither warden nor bedesmen, and the daily one shilling and fourpence was substituted with the common consent of all parties, including the bishop and the corporation of Barchester.

Such was the condition of Hiram's twelve old men when Mr Harding was appointed warden; but if they may be considered as well-to-do in the world according to their condition, the happy warden was much more so. The patches and butts which, in John Hiram's time, produced hay or fed cows, were now covered with rows of houses; the value of the property had gradually increased from year to year and century to century, and was now presumed by those who knew anything about it, to bring in a very nice income; and by some who knew nothing about it, to have increased to an almost fabulous extent.

The property was farmed by a gentleman in Barchester, who also acted as the bishop's steward, — a man whose father and grandfather had been stewards to the bishops of Barchester, and farmers of John Hiram's estate. The Chadwicks had earned a good name in Barchester; they had lived respected by bishops, deans, canons, and precentors; they had been buried in the precincts of the cathedral; they had never been known as griping, hard men, but had always lived comfortably, maintained a good house, and held a high position in Barchester society. The present Mr Chadwick was a worthy scion of a worthy stock, and the tenants living on the butts and patches, as well as those on the wide episcopal domains of the see, were well pleased to have to do with so worthy and liberal a steward.

For many, many years, — records hardly tell how many, probably from the time when Hiram's wishes had been first fully carried out, — the proceeds of the estate had been paid by the steward or farmer to the warden, and by him divided among the bedesmen; after which division he paid himself such sums as became his due. Times had been when the poor warden got nothing but his bare house, for the patches had been subject to floods, and the land of Barchester butts was said to be unproductive; and in these hard times the warden was hardly able to make out the daily dole for his twelve dependents. But by degrees things mended; the patches were drained, and cottages began to rise upon the butts, and the wardens, with fairness enough, repaid themselves for the evil days gone by. In bad times the poor men had had their due, and therefore in good times they could expect no more. In this manner the income of the warden had increased; the picturesque house attached to the hospital had been enlarged and adorned, and the office had become one of the most coveted of the snug clerical sinecures attached to our church. It was now wholly in the bishop's gift, and though the dean and chapter, in former days, made a stand on the subject, they had thought it more conducive to their honour to have a rich precentor appointed by the bishop, than a poor one appointed by themselves. The stipend of the precentor of Barchester was eighty pounds a year. The income arising from the wardenship of the hospital was eight hundred, besides the value of the house.

Murmurs, very slight murmurs, had been heard in Barchester, — few indeed, and far between, — that the proceeds of John Hiram's property had not been fairly divided: but they can hardly be said to have been of such a nature as to have caused uneasiness to anyone: still the thing had been whispered, and Mr Harding had heard it. Such was his character in Barchester, so universal was his popularity, that the very fact of his appointment would have quieted louder whispers than those which had been heard; but Mr Harding was an open-handed, just-minded man, and feeling that there might be truth in what had been said, he had, on his instalment, declared his intention of adding twopence a day to each man's pittance, making a sum of sixty-two pounds eleven shillings and fourpence, which he was to pay out of his own pocket. In doing so, however, he distinctly and repeatedly observed to the men, that though he promised for himself, he could not promise for his successors, and that the extra twopence could only be looked on as a gift from himself, and not from the trust. The bedesmen, however, were most of them older than Mr Harding, and were quite satisfied with the security on which their extra income was based.

This munificence on the part of Mr Harding had not been unopposed. Mr Chadwick had mildly but seriously dissuaded him from it; and his strong-minded son-in-law, the archdeacon, the man of whom alone Mr Harding stood in awe, had urgently, nay, vehemently, opposed so impolitic a concession: but the warden had made known his intention to the hospital before the archdeacon had been able to interfere, and the deed was done.

Hiram's Hospital, as the retreat is called, is a picturesque building enough, and shows the correct taste with which the ecclesiastical architects of those days were imbued. It stands on the banks of the little river, which flows nearly round the cathedral close, being on the side furthest from the town. The London road crosses the river by a pretty one-arched bridge, and, looking from this bridge, the stranger will see the windows of the old men's rooms, each pair of windows separated by a small buttress. A broad gravel walk runs between the building and the river, which is always trim and cared for; and at the end of the walk, under the parapet of the approach to the bridge, is a large and well-worn seat, on which, in mild weather, three or four of Hiram's bedesmen are sure to be seen seated. Beyond this row of buttresses, and further from the bridge, and also further from the water which here suddenly bends, are the pretty oriel windows of Mr Harding's house, and his well-mown lawn. The entrance to the hospital is from the London road, and is made through a ponderous gateway under a heavy stone arch, unnecessary, one would suppose, at any time, for the protection of twelve old men, but greatly conducive to the good appearance of Hiram's charity. On passing through this portal, never closed to anyone from 6 a.m. till 10 p.m., and never open afterwards, except on application to a huge, intricately hung mediæval bell, the handle of which no uninitiated intruder can possibly find, the six doors of the old men's abodes are seen, and beyond them is a slight iron screen, through which the more happy portion of the Barchester elite pass into the Elysium of Mr Harding's dwelling.

Mr Harding is a small man, now verging on sixty years, but bearing few of the signs of age; his hair is rather grizzled, though not gray; his eye is very mild, but clear and bright, though the double glasses which are held swinging from his hand, unless when fixed upon his nose, show that time has told upon his sight; his hands are delicately white, and both hands and feet are small; he always wears a black frock coat, black knee-breeches, and black gaiters, and somewhat scandalises some of his more hyperclerical brethren by a black neck-handkerchief.

Mr Harding's warmest admirers cannot say that he was ever an industrious man; the circumstances of his life have not called on him to be so; and yet he can hardly be called an idler. Since his appointment to his precentorship, he has published, with all possible additions of vellum, typography, and gilding, a collection of our ancient church music, with some correct dissertations on Purcell, Crotch, and Nares. He has greatly improved the choir of Barchester, which, under his dominion, now rivals that of any cathedral in England. He has taken something more than his fair share in the cathedral services, and has played the violoncello daily to such audiences as he could collect, or, faute de mieux, to no audience at all.

We must mention one other peculiarity of Mr Harding. As we have before stated, he has an income of eight hundred a year, and has no family but his one daughter; and yet he is never quite at ease in money matters. The vellum and gilding of "Harding's Church Music" cost more than any one knows, except the author, the publisher, and the Rev. Theophilus Grantly, who allows none of his father-in-law's extravagances to escape him. Then he is generous to his daughter, for whose service he keeps a small carriage and pair of ponies. He is, indeed, generous to all, but especially to the twelve old men who are in a peculiar manner under his care. No doubt with such an income Mr Harding should be above the world, as the saying is; but, at any rate, he is not above Archdeacon Theophilus Grantly, for he is always more or less in debt to his son-in-law, who has, to a certain extent, assumed the arrangement of the precentor's pecuniary affairs.

CHAPTER 2

THE BARCHESTER REFORMER


Mr Harding has been now precentor of Barchester for ten years; and, alas, the murmurs respecting the proceeds of Hiram's estate are again becoming audible. It is not that any one begrudges to Mr Harding the income which he enjoys, and the comfortable place which so well becomes him; but such matters have begun to be talked of in various parts of England. Eager pushing politicians have asserted in the House of Commons, with very telling indignation, that the grasping priests of the Church of England are gorged with the wealth which the charity of former times has left for the solace of the aged, or the education of the young. The well-known case of the Hospital of St Cross has even come before the law courts of the country, and the struggles of Mr Whiston, at Rochester, have met with sympathy and support. Men are beginning to say that these things must be looked into.

Mr Harding, whose conscience in the matter is clear, and who has never felt that he had received a pound from Hiram's will to which he was not entitled, has naturally taken the part of the church in talking over these matters with his friend, the bishop, and his son-in-law, the archdeacon. The archdeacon, indeed, Dr Grantly, has been somewhat loud in the matter. He is a personal friend of the dignitaries of the Rochester Chapter, and has written letters in the public press on the subject of that turbulent Dr Whiston, which, his admirers think, must well nigh set the question at rest. It is also known at Oxford that he is the author of the pamphlet signed "Sacerdos" on the subject of the Earl of Guildford and St Cross, in which it is so clearly argued that the manners of the present times do not admit of a literal adhesion to the very words of the founder's will, but that the interests of the church for which the founder was so deeply concerned are best consulted in enabling its bishops to reward those shining lights whose services have been most signally serviceable to Christianity. In answer to this, it is asserted that Henry de Blois, founder of St Cross, was not greatly interested in the welfare of the reformed church, and that the masters of St Cross, for many years past, cannot be called shining lights in the service of Christianity; it is, however, stoutly maintained, and no doubt felt, by all the archdeacon's friends, that his logic is conclusive, and has not, in fact, been answered.

With such a tower of strength to back both his arguments and his conscience, it may be imagined that Mr Harding has never felt any compunction as to receiving his quarterly sum of two hundred pounds. Indeed, the subject has never presented itself to his mind in that shape. He has talked not unfrequently, and heard very much about the wills of old founders and the incomes arising from their estates, during the last year or two; he did even, at one moment, feel a doubt (since expelled by his son-in-law's logic) as to whether Lord Guildford was clearly entitled to receive so enormous an income as he does from the revenues of St Cross; but that he himself was overpaid with his modest eight hundred pounds, — he who, out of that, voluntarily gave up sixty-two pounds eleven shillings and fourpence a year to his twelve old neighbours, — he who, for the money, does his precentor's work as no precentor has done it before, since Barchester Cathedral was built, — such an idea has never sullied his quiet, or disturbed his conscience.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Warden by Anthony Trollope. Copyright © 2016 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Anthony Trollope: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The Warden

Appendix A: Trollope’s Revisions in the 1878 Edition of The Warden

Appendix B: Trollope’s Comments on the Genesis of The Warden

Appendix C: Sources of Parody: Thomas Carlyle and Charles Dickens

Appendix D: The Major Scandals alluded to in The Warden

Appendix E: The St Ervan’s Case

Appendix F: Leading Article in The Times on the St Ervan’s Case

Appendix G: Contemporary Reviews of The Warden

  1. Examiner, 6 January 1855
  2. Spectator, 6 January 1855
  3. Athenaeum, 27 January 1855
  4. Leader, 17 February 1855
  5. Eclectic Review, March 1855

Appendix H: Trollope on Clergymen of the Church of England

Appendix I: Contemporary Views on The Times and the Press

Works Cited and Suggested Reading

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Trollope will remain one of the most trustworthy . . . of the writers who have helped the heart of man to know itself.” —Henry James

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The Warden 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful tale brilliantly told, and good to visit with an old master
blbooks More than 1 year ago
This is a charming little classic concerning ethics. While that, strictly speaking, is true, it's not really the half of it. It's about one man, Mr. Harding, and his family: two daughters, one married, the other quite single. It's also about Harding's neighborhood and circle of friends. It's about the necessity of having a good reputation and a clean conscience. Eleanor is the apple of her daddy's eye. Susan is married to an Archdeacon. (I *believe* his name is Grantley). Because of his eldest daughters good fortune in marriage, Mr. Harding, has been named warden of Hiram's Hospital (alms house). The 'enemy' of Mr. Harding (and the suitor of Eleanor) is a young man named John Bold. When we are first introduced to these characters, we are learning that Bold is encouraging a law suit against Mr. Harding. He feels that Mr. Harding is in violation of the will. (Way, way, way back when (several centuries past), a man left his (quite wealthy) estate to the church. The church followed the will for the most part, but as times changed, they changed the way they carried it out. They were following it through in spirit in a way: still seeking to take care of twelve poor men (bedesman) but over time the salary of the warden increased.) Bold has stirred up the twelve bedesmen into signing a petition demanding justice, demanding more money, demanding 'fairer' distribution of funds. The book presents this case through multiple perspectives: through two Grantleys (father and son), a few lawyers, Mr. Harding and Mr. Bold, of course, and through a handful of the twelve men involved that would profit from the change. There is one man whose voice seems louder than all the rest. And that voice comes from the newspaper, the Jupiter, one journalist writes harsh, condemning words directed at Mr. Harding--he assumes much having never met Harding personally. These words weigh heavy on the heart and soul of Mr. Harding. (And they don't sit easy on Mr. Bold either.) Can Mr. Harding get his reputation back? What is the right thing to do? Is he in violation of the will? Is the church? What is his moral responsibility in caring for these twelve poor-and-retired men? What is his responsibility to the community? The Warden is a charming little book. In part because of the language and style. There's an easiness and rightness about it. It was one of those cases where I knew almost from the start that Trollope and I would come to be good friends. Though I'd never read any Trollope before, never seen a movie based on one of his books, reading Trollope felt like coming home. Trollope was good at characterization and equally good at storytelling.
SheReadsNovels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Being a lover of Victorian fiction, I have wanted to read something by Anthony Trollope for a long time but didn't know which of his books to begin with. I've heard a lot about The Way We Live Now and Can You Forgive Her? but I decided to go with The Warden because it's relatively short and I thought that if I wasn't enjoying it I'd be more likely to finish a book with 200 pages than one with 800. Luckily, this wasn't a problem ¿ I enjoyed the book and wouldn¿t have minded if it had been longer.In the year 1434 John Hiram established a hospital (or almshouse) in the town of Barchester where for centuries to come, twelve elderly, infirm men could live under the care of a warden. At the time when the story takes place, Septimus Harding is the current warden and whilst the amount of money given to the old men has barely changed at all over time, the warden's income has increased to eight hundred pounds a year. When reformer John Bold decides to investigate, Harding finds himself facing a moral dilemma.The book really made me stop and think, because none of the characters seemed to be either completely in the wrong or completely in the right. Although it was clearly unfair that Mr. Harding was receiving so much money, I sympathised with him because as soon as the unfairness of his position was brought to his attention he became determined to do the right thing. As for the other main characters ¿ John Bold and Harding's son-in-law Archdeacon Grantly ¿ although they are on opposite sides of the debate and have very different opinions regarding the warden's situation, Trollope presents them both as well-intentioned people with normal human flaws. The female characters don't play a very big role in this book, but I loved the relationship between Mr. Harding and his daughter Eleanor.I really liked Trollope's writing style which is elegant, insightful and witty in a gentle way. There are a few chapters where he departs from the main storyline to spend several pages talking about politics or the media but this is a common trait of Victorian writers. Although it was slow moving in places, Trollope managed to keep me interested from beginning to end. I'm sure some of his other books will be better, but this one was good enough to make me want to read more of his work.
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Warden is the first book in Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire novels, and deals with a sticky legal question involving the Church of England's financial responsibilities. Under the will of John Hiram, twelve aged workingmen are to be supported in a hospital (or home) and overseen/served by a warden of the church. Since Hiram's 1434 will, the income from his estates has increased dramatically and the surplus monies have been routed to the warden rather than to the workingmen (whose needs are fully satisfied in their current arrangements). When a young liberal activist named John Bold learns that Hiram's will is not being followed to the letter, he immediately opens a lawsuit to investigate the church's appropriation of the money. What complicates matters is that Bold is in love with Eleanor Harding, the daughter of the current warden ¿ and Bold considers Mr. Septimus Harding himself to be a good friend. Can he reconcile what he feels is his civic duty with these personal loyalties? Who really should get that eight hundred pounds a year?Mr. Harding is a wonderfully endearing character. In addition to being the warden of the hospital, he is also a preceptor and delights in the music for the church services. He is a humble man who is horrified at the grasping, greedy picture of himself that the newspapers paint for the world to read. After a struggle of no mean proportions, he determines that he must give up the wardenship and its accompanying eight hundred pounds, despite the financial blow it will be and the bullying tactics of his more worldly-wise son-in-law, Dr. Grantly. The little machinations to which Mr. Harding resorts in order to get his way despite his weakness are funny and sad at the same time. He's very much a passive-aggressive type, unwilling and unable to argue with Dr. Grantly but firm in his convictions. He buys a clean conscience in the end, despite everything his friends try to do to save him from his own moral promptings.There are other endearing characters as well. Eleanor is quite the heroine with her brave resolve of giving up John Bold to save her father. Though she is foiled in this noble plan by her friend, Bold's sister Mary, there's no doubt Eleanor really did intend to see it through. I also liked the bishop, another fuddling and "weak" man like Mr. Harding who nevertheless demonstrates true charity and consideration for others. Dr. Grantly is really the only villain in the book (well, perhaps Tom Towers and Abraham Haphazard qualify too), but even he is softened. Indeed, Trollope does his best to apologize for Dr. Grantly's overbearing manner and inflexible pride... and he succeeds. I can't dislike Dr. Grantly nearly as much as I think I ought to. Perhaps Trollope did not feel it wise to castigate a clergyman too harshly. I appreciated the dry, understated humor that crops up unexpectedly throughout the novel. There is Trollope's brilliant description of a ball, wherein the young men and young women are depicted as opposing armies staring at one another across the ballroom and slowly making advances. The metaphor is quite drawn out and it gets funnier as it continues. And there are the "conjugal confabulations" of the imposing Dr. Grantly and his wife as they converse in bed, along with some amusing reflections on what a trial it must be for clergymen's wives to see their dignified husbands in all states of dishabille. You have to be on the watch for Trollope's humor; he doesn't trumpet that he is being funny when he makes a smart little comment about someone. I laughed at his little descriptions, like the archdeacon's sigh "that would have moved a man-of-war." In some ways it's almost Austenian. In other places (especially in the conversations of the bedesmen), Trollope reminded me of Thomas Hardy's working-class characters.In his introduction, Louis Auchincloss writes that the crux of the novel is a recurring theme with Trollope: the inevitable collision of traditional privilege and modern
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mr. Harding, the Warden of a charitable foundation, is about to be challenged in his position, even though it is clear to all, even his challenger, that Mr. Harding is a man who lives and breathes personal integrity.This is the audio version, read by Simon Vance, who did a marvelous job. I love reading Trollope. His dry wit and subtle humor are a delight.The author manages to work all of his characters into an impossible corner, and somehow, even though all are not rescued and the story is not a "lived happily ever after" kind of tale, the reader does not end up resenting the author, but appreciating his special view and understanding of human nature and of life.
PapaDubs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story of Mr. Harding the kindly old warden of a hospital (almshouse) for elderly, disabled men. Mr. Harding finds himself enmeshed in a lawsuit regarding the money he receives as warden but as events unfold within the story we discover that the warden truly represents what a good man should be. Inspiring. Looking forward to reading additional books in the series.
tloeffler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A nice little regency story about the warden of a hospital for elderly gentlemen, his loving daughter, and the man she loves, who is leading the campaign to take away her fathers wardenship (and thus livelihood). It has an understated moral (better the devil you know than the devil you don't know!), and the author's asides are worth reading the book for (although it is a great story)!
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This tale is the embodiment of irony. In the pages of this novel we find the young and idealistic (and also ambitious) reformer, the honorable clergyman, and the foolish and uneducated. The perfect recipe for ruining what is good and replacing it with something worse. Mr. Trollope includes many asides and witticisms and there is the feeling that while the tale is worth telling, the points the author wants to make are at least as important. Curious style of writing and makes me curious to know what his other books are like.
bencritchley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I seem to have revealed rather a lot about the plot - please exercise caution etcThe first part of a series, but a standalone novel nonetheless. I really enjoyed it (I know I seem to say that a lot) and see as its central theme the conflict between public and private, internal and external, personal and social. It's a novel about then-current newspaper scandals and church reform, but it's also a deeply personal story of one man, the titular warden, and his internal moral struggle. Mr Harding is a pleasant and well-liked man, and what happens to him is unfair and unpleasant. The end is both a victory and a defeat for Harding, which is a good illustration of the central split of the novel. Both forces acting upon Harding, broadly speaking, the external and the external, are acting from good motives, on the side of Right, (almost all the main characters are connected to the church) and yet they are set in opposition quite early in the text, as Harding realises he cannot do right by the church and his own conscience concurrently.This split continues as although firmly rooted in contemporary, mid-Victorian issues, scandals and mores, it is very relevant now with regard to charity and obligation in a changing world, and how the best of intentions - and John Bold has the best of intentions - can have unforeseen results when we treat people as statistics. Bold sees Harden as The Warden and, in seeing the injustice of the position, overlooks the kindness and charity of the man.
Fluffyblue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having listened to some of this book as an audio book, I was finding it hard to concentrate, so finding the book free to download via Kindle, I decided the story might sink in a bit better if I actually read it, and it did.This is the story of a warden of a charitable hospital, where 12 old men live. The men receive a small amount of money every week, according to the will of the founder of the hospital and over the years the warden has received a larger and larger share because of the increase in property prices etc when the will is challenged it causes all sorts of problems for the warden, and the book is essentially about him, his small family and the characters that surround him. It is Victorian fiction (although initially I did not know that it was from this era which was a bit naive of me!) and it is sometimes hard to follow. On the whole it was enjoyable and I found Trollope to be very witty and ironic at times. The book was quite humourous which therefore made it a bit of a joy to read.
jasonlf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had been saving Trollope for later life, largely because I was worried that once I got started I might feel compelled to read all 47 of his novels. But somehow read the first few pages of this and couldn't put it down. The story is rather slight, many of the characters absurd, some of the satire over the top, but somehow it is enjoying and compelling from beginning to end.The story is about a church official who also serves as the beneficent, albeit well remunerated, Warden of an almshouse for twelve elderly, indigent men. He becomes the target of a local reformer who wants more of the endowment to go to the poor and less to the Warden. A series of lawsuits and machinations follow, lightly interspersed with a wooden romance, and along the way Trollope skewers parliament, the media, the Church of England, philosophical writers, Charles Dickens, and others. Unlike Dickens, none of the characters -- minor or major -- have much life to them. And most of them are painfully cardboard.But somehow the careful descriptions, the impossible situation depicted, and the panormatic view of this tiny segment of time, space and society are compelling. As one of Trollope's earliest works, I can only assume they get better -- and will require some restraint not to pick up another Trollope novel anytime soon.
wordygirl39 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sigh...I just don't get all the fuss over Trollope. I read this one, but not joyfully.
gercmbyrne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Trollope's vigourously recounted tale of a gentle and scrupulous man is a long time favourite. Contains one of teh best scenes ever, when the perplexed and unhappy Warden "plays" on his imaginary cello, too old to continue playing for real. A story of worliness versus spirutal values.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A delightful novel set in Jolly Old England. ~*~LEB~*~
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katknit More than 1 year ago
Septimus Hardy is that rarity - an honest, "disinterested", Church of England cleric. For 10 years, he has held the living as warden at a charitable "hospital", founded centuries ago for impoverished but worthy tradesmen. When in the interest of reform, John Bold, Warden Hardy's daughter's suitor, brings a suit against the church for diverting alms to the clergy rather than the poor. All manner of trouble arises when Mr. Hardy's conscience clashes with the plans of his Arch Deacon, who also happens to be his son-in-law. Employing subtle (and sometimes not) satire to age old conflicts between right/wrong, church/society, rich/poor, law/common sense, Trollope prods his readers to consider the nature of charity and society's obligations to the less fortunate. He presents both sides with fairness, providing no easy solution to a problem that is always with us. Thought provoking and still topical, though originally published in 1855.
Brie_loves_Jane More than 1 year ago
The first in the Barset series its not nearly as good as the second book Barchester Towers but reading the Warden does add depth to the second book. Dickens fans will probably like Anthony Trollope.