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The Warden (Illustrated) (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Anthony Trollope
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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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 rever- end 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 usual, 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 grave-diggers, 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 Bar- chester; 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 any one: 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 any one 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 élite 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 grey, 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.

From AudioFile

Hearing Nigel Hawthorne's reading of The Warden is like attending fine theater. In the opening scenes Septimus Harding's sinecure as warden of Barchester hospital's twelve bedesmen is being questioned by young reformer John BoldÐa situation complicated by Bold's love for the warden's daughter. Hawthorne's portrayals are so vivid that we see the interplay of charactersÐfrom the arrogant archdeacon, Dr. Grantly, and the London lawyer, Sir Abraham Haphazard, to the illiterate stonemason, Abel Handy. In this gentle satire Hawthorne transports us to the predicaments of a mid-nineteenth-century world. And when the curtain falls, we're relieved and delighted that the mild and honorable warden has prevailed. J.H.L. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1133 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 204 pages
  • Utilisation simultanée de l'appareil : Illimité
  • Editeur : Heritage Illustrated Publishing (5 mars 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00IU0T7WO
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Trollope et Eliot même combat 2 mars 2006
Par ohmy
On retrouve ici les ambiances et les sujets de George Eliot (Middlemarch, The Mill on the Floss). J'ai particulièrement aimé la modernité du traitement et le fait qu'un petit bouquin de ce genre puisse me faire réagir sur le thème classique des choix, de la trahison et de l'amour...
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5  53 commentaires
128 internautes sur 131 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 It was the beginning of an wonderful adventure . . . 10 mars 2000
Par Russel E. Higgins - Publié sur
I first read Anthony Trollope's book "The Warden" in 1995 at the age of 54; three years later I had finished all forty-seven Trollope novels, his autobiography, and most of his short stories. "The Warden" provides a necessary introduction to the Barsetshire Novels, which, in turn, provide a marvelous introduction to rural Victorian society, and its religious, political, and social underpinnings. However, "The Warden" is a small literary masterpiece of its own, even though the more popular "Barchester Towers" tends to obscure it. "The Warden" moves slowly, of course, but so did Victorian England; soon the reader is enveloped in a rich world of brilliantly created characters: in the moral dilemma of a charming and innocent man, Reverend Septimus Harding, who is probably the most beloved of all Trollope's characters; in the connivings of Archdeacon Grantly, who will become a significant force in the later Barsetshire novels; in Eleanor, an example of the perfect Victorian woman, a type that appears in many of Trollope's subsequent novels; and in the sanctimonious meddling of John Bold, whose crusade for fairness throws the town into turmoil. In modern terminology, "The Warden" is a "good read" for those readers with patience, a love of 19th century England, and an appreciation of literary style. Trollope's sentences have a truly musical cadence. "The Warden" was Trollope's fourth novel and his first truly successful one. It provides a strong introduction to the other five novels of the Barsetshire series, where the reader will meet a group of fascinating characters, including the Mrs. Proudie (one of Trollope's finest creations), the Reverend Obadiah Slope, and the Grantly family. The reader will soon find that Trollope's well-developed characters soon become "friends," and that the small cathedral town of Barchester becomes a very familiar and fascinating world in itself. It is a wonderful trip through these six novels. (I read all six in about three weeks.) But one must begin with "The Warden." Brew a cup of tea, toast a scone on a quiet evening, and begin the wonderful voyage through Trollope's charming Barchester. When you have finished the six novels, you may, like me, want to commence reading the Palliser series (another six novels) and follow Plantagenet and Glencora Palliser through their triumphs and travails! However, that remains another story.
41 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Classic of victorian fiction, slightly dated by modern standards 6 août 2010
Par TS - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This is the first of Anthony Trollope's "Chronicles of Barsetshire" novels, and his first popularly successful novel. The basic plot is that the Warden, Mr. Harding, has 1) a sinecure church position that pays him 800 pounds a year; 2) a reform-minded friend who's trying to abolish church sinecures; 3) a daughter who wants to marry the reform-minded friend; and 4) an existing son-in-law of an Archdeacon who takes defending the Rights of the Church very, very seriously.

If you like Jane Austen novels there's a good chance you'll like this, as the basic plots -- church livings, the marriage prospects of 19th-centry british gentry -- are fairly similar. Trollope's prose here is fairly light and clear, and if not quite as sharply witty as Austen's, no one else's prose is either. Trollope does spill a great deal of ink on lengthy asides to the reader, some of which paint interesting pictures of contemporary British culture and some of which modern readers may find *amazingly* skippable.

Overall, this one's a lightly pleasant example of precisely the sort of intelligent, Victorian parlor romance it's trying to be. If you like this, the next volume in sequence is Barchester Towers; it's a bit more comically satirical, somewhere in between this and P.G. Wodehouse, but almost certainly something you'll enjoy if you liked this one.
24 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The story of a righteous man's battle with his conscience. 8 juillet 1998
Par Leonard L. Wilson - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
In the 15th century, Hiram's Hospital was established as a perpetual charitable home for 12 poor old men, each being replaced at his death. Over the years the income from the property of the estate has increased to the point where the warden of the hospital enjoys a substantial salary.
The Rev. Septimus Harding (the Warden), kind, gentle, and conscientious, loves his comfortable position and is loved by the old men under his care - until his life is disrupted by a REFORMER, in the person of young John Bold, who questions the ample income of the warden, while the old men still receive only pennies a day. Bold brings in a solicitor and interests the newspaper The Jupiter (obviously the London Times), which makes the issue a national debate.
Although the church stands behind the warden with all its influence, the gentle Mr. Harding himself begins to doubt the propriety of his position. The matter becomes further complicated when Bold and Harding's daughter Eleanor fall in love.
This first of the six Barsetshire novels is by far the shortest and concentrates almost exclusively on the main plot. (In fact, Trollope inserts a criticism of the long serial novels of the day, although he later adopted that same mode.) "The Warden" is not so rich in detail or in the extensive cultural ambience of the later novels, but it is an excellent introduction to this deservedly acclaimed series. It introduces many vivid characters who grow and develop delightfully in the later novels.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Enjoyable Moral Tale 1 mai 2012
Par Oddsfish - Publié sur
I had never read Trollope before, though I'd heard good things about him for years. The thing that held me back was that I like to read things in order, and in this case, reading things in order meant starting with a novel that seems almost universally to be The Warden is just considered the book that Trollope got started with before finding his feet in Barchester Towers. Still, it's highly recommended that you not skip this one, unless you miss out on knowing characters in his later novels.

Quite a quandary, obviously. All of those later novels sounded so good, and to get to them, I had to go through this dull one. I'm not sure what got into me one day, but I ended up picking up The Warden to try it out, and do you know what? It was good. And it didn't just exceed my low expectations. It was just really good.

The story concerns a clergyman, Mr. Harding (one of the more pleasant characters in Victorian literature), who has enjoyed a comfortable income. John Bold, a young political reformer, happens to discover that Harding's income seems excessive, more than was intended in the founding of the estate, and seeks to have the matter looked into. The problem is that John is engaged to Harding's daughter Eleanor, and John's well-intentioned efforts at reform threaten to ruin all of their happiness.

It's really a pleasant and thoughtful comedy of manners. Admirable characters are placed into complex moral situations, and it is fascinating and entertaining to watch how they deal with them. It's a really satisfying plot, with full-fleshed characters and something to think about. I will admit that there are moments when you might realize that this is Trollope's first novel. He can go on page-after-page long tangents, railing at such things as newspapers, for instance. Though these moments can be drawn out and frustrating, they are certainly not long or painful enough to miss this book. It's actually a very fine read, despite its reputation, and I look forward a lot to exploring more of what Trollope has to offer. If this is Trollope at his weakest, I can only imagine the wonderful things that he must have written at his peak.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 No doom and gloom in this Victorian novel. 2 novembre 2004
Par John Austin - Publié sur
Although its principal character, Mr Harding, the Warden of Barchester, suffers abject misery and extreme anxiety during most of this novel, the reader of "The Warden" will enjoy one of the happiest, richest and warmest experiences to be gained from the whole of English Literature.

Untypically short, yet three years in the making, "The Warden" has a simple structure that Trollope utlized again and again. Take a moral dilemma of some sort, one that provides endless pros and cons to be argued, one that possibly takes many hundreds of pages to resolve, explore its social, political and financial implications, and show how it touches the lives of characters not too unlike ourselves.

The dilemma here concerns the income of Septimus Harding, the Warden of Barchester. Under the terms of a will, dated 1434, twelve superannuated woolcarders were to be accommodated in an almshouse, receiving one shilling and fourpence per day. A residence was to be provided for a warden who was to receive the income from the remainder of the testator's property. Now, more than 400 years later, there seems to be an imbalance in these depositions. The almshouse inmates continue to receive only one shilling and fourpence, while the warden, living on the proceeds of some valuable properties, receives eight hundred pounds annually and the use of the warden's house.

The dilemma faces a young Barchester surgeon, John Bold. If he allows the imbalance to continue, the wishes of the original benefactor, he believes, are being nullified. If he succeeds in having the warden's comfortable living discontinued, he will lose forever the possibility of making the warden's daughter his wife. And so the issue is taken up, argued and publicized.

As Anthony Trollope reveals in his autobiography, this tiny novel was successful enough (it earned him twenty pounds) to lead him to consider writing more of the same, and he soon began "Barchester Towers".

English actor Sir Nigel Hawthorne, brilliant as Archdeacon Grantly in a memorable TV adaptation of this novel, revisits Trollope's Barchester to provide a robust, opulent, complete and unabridged reading that no Trollope enthusiast should miss hearing.
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