The Warden

Anthony Trollope
Illustrated by Bill Bragg
Introduced by Jane Smiley

This is the first volume of the Barsetshire Chronicles, and arguably Trollope's most celebrated work.

Devoted to his daughter and the comfort of the elderly pensioners under his care, Septimus Harding is surely the most blameless of clergymen – apart from his one indulgence in church music. Yet when the ardent young surgeon and reformer John Bold begins to question Mr Harding's right to his income as Warden of Hiram's Hospital, a scandal threatens to divide the town and cathedral.

Even more painful a division is going on in the heart of Mr Harding's daughter Eleanor, who is torn between her love for John and her loyalty to her father. Mr Harding bears no grudge over what he respects as honest opposition, but John will find that having released the genie of an angry Press, he will be unable to control it. The consequences, for all of Barchester, will prove unsettling.

The hard and stinging words of that newspaper article were fresh in his memory. Was he to be looked on as the unjust griping priest he had been there described? Was he to bear all this? He felt he could not live under the weight of such obloquy

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