Continuing my coverage of the 1982 BBC miniseries The Barchester Chronicles. . . .
Last time, there was much scheming about who was to replace Mr. Harding as the warden of the hospital, and Slope has started to try charming both the Signora and Eleanor in his quest for power and position in the cutthroat world of rural Anglican churchmen.
The episode opens with Harding and Eleanor packing off to the Grantlys’ house for some R and R.
In the village, Slope continues to smarm the Signora. I know “smarm” isn’t a verb, but I’m making it a verb today because I don’t think any other word adequately conveys the oily way he courts her. Or really the oily way he courts anyone.
Bertie laments that he’s pretty sure his attempts to woo Eleanor are why she has fled to the Grantlys’ home.
The revelation that Bertie is also pursuing Eleanor is unwelcome news to Slope because he knows the first rule of marrying to advance one’s position is to never share victims with another fortune hunter.
He tries to continue smarming, but Bertie’s news draws his attention away from the Signora’s chess game, which he is expected to help with.
While Eleanor and her dad bask in some down time at the Grantly home, Grantly excitedly informs his father-in-law that they have a new ally in the fight against the Proudies and Slope–a nearby clergyman and former Oxford lecturer named Arabin.
Next page: Slope has a suggestion.