We just read Anthony Trollope's novel The Warden for my Conceptions of Masculinity class and my professor highlighted the following passage for our discussion today. How's this for a magnanimous response? I think that in this instance Mr. Harding definitely fits Ambrose's standard for clergy. Now if I could just learn to respond in kind when people confront me with news that their actions might destroy me.
Bold tried to laugh, but he couldn't. He was quite in earnest, and determined in his course, and couldn't make a joke of it. He walked on awhile in silence before he recommenced his attack, during which Mr Harding, who had still the bow in his hand, played rapidly on an imaginary violoncello. "I fear there is reason to think that John Hiram's will is not carried out to the letter, Mr Harding,' said the young man at last; 'and I have been asked to see into it."
"Very well, I've no objection on earth; and now we need not say another word about it."
"Only one word more, Mr Harding. Chadwick has referred me to Cox and Cummins, and I think it my duty to apply to them for some statement about the hospital. In what I do I may appear to be interfering with you, and I hope you will forgive me for doing so."
"Mr Bold," said the other, stopping, and speaking with some solemnity, "if you act justly, say nothing in this matter but the truth, and use no unfair weapons in carrying out your purposes, I shall have nothing to forgive. I presume you think I am not entitled to the income I receive from the hospital, and that others are entitled to it. Whatever some may do, I shall never attribute to you base motives because you hold an opinion opposed to my own and adverse to my interests: pray do what you consider to be your duty; I can give you no assistance, neither will I offer you any obstacle. Let me, however, suggest to you, that you can in no wise forward your views nor I mine, by any discussion between us. Here comes Eleanor and the ponies, and we'll go in to tea."
If you want to read this brilliant novel, you can read it for free online. Just click here. And, if you are one of my friends who detests reading, but still likes a good story, you can download audio files and listen to it here. This is the first of a series about clergy in 19th-century England that might have to go on my list of "fun" summer reading. Seriously, check it out.