Later at tea, Harding complains to Eleanor about how rude Slope is, though she is still sympathetic to Slope. He is alarmed to learn Slope is a frequent visitor.
At another tea, presumably the next day, Harding rants to his other daughter, but this time he harps on what he couldn’t freely discuss with Eleanor–how bothered he is that his youngest daughter is willing to cultivate ties with this thoroughly loathsome chaplain.
Mrs. Grantly pours on the horror by hinting Slope is angling for an engagement, which has never even occurred to gentle Mr. Harding.
They agree that the one saving grace is the opportunistic Slope knows nothing about how wealthy of a widow dear Eleanor is.
Speaking of the devil, while Harding has a mutual bitch fest about Slope at his eldest daughter’s house, Slope offers Mr. Q the warden job, though he obviously finds the environs unsatisfying.
Mr. Q. is pretty bland himself, though his conversation with Slope is funny. He proves he is at least a thoughtful person by mentioning how uncomfortable he would be if he were chosen instead of the well-liked Mr. Harding.
Slope reassures him there is no need to worry because Harding said no. Overjoyed, Mr. Q. wants to celebrate, and Slope mentions that Eleanor is at least willing to help with some of the tasks. This news causes Mr. Q. to mention in passing that it’s nice someone so well off is willing to volunteer and help the poor. The mention of money sets off Slope’s greedy spidey senses.
I don’t think chronologically it happens right away, but there is also one of my absolute favorite scenes in the entire show in this episode, where Slope blesses the many children of Mr. Q. Just watch it. Nothing can do it justice but viewing it in all of its glorious awkwardness.
Next page: Slope continues his attempted conquest of Barchester.