She marches into the bishop’s office very angrily and demands answers.
Slope repeats the bullshit he told Mr. Q to her.
As she stresses his lack of actual authority, Slope responds with the verbal equivalent of an upper cut–it doesn’t matter what she thinks because his loyalty is and always has been to the bishop, not her.
This culminates in a gloriously childish moment where she tells him to leave, and he tells her she can’t make him. They look to the bishop to referee the fight because that’s what grownups do. He does not relish this challenge.
I was expecting the meek bishop to grovel to his wife, so it floored me when he declared himself Team Slope. Granted, he was not very bold in this declaration but still. The rebuke to Mrs. Proudie was clear.
This delightful scene of petty combat concludes with Slope asking if he can contact Harding, and the bishop tells him to communicate with him informally. Hmm. That direction to do so “informally” makes me wonder if the bishop has sneaky plans of his own, though I also wonder if he’s even capable of sneakiness.
Still proud even in defeat, Mrs. Proudie tells Mrs. Q the whole situation is Mr. Q.’s fault anyway for being a dipshit.
But she hits the roof when Mrs. Q. tells her that Mr. Q. took Slope so seriously because they considered him her personal emissary.
Next page: Triumphant Slope tries and fails to celebrate.