Barchester Towers rediscovered

In preparation for an impending visit to a high school classmate who is an Episcopal priest, I bought Trollope’s Barchester Towers, which I’ve read several times but not recently. It’s a delight of well-drawn characters and sly invective, of which I might quote any number of passages. Here’s one, describing Mrs. Stanhope, to give something of the flavo[u]r:

The structure of her attire was always elaborate, and yet never over laboured. She was rich in apparel, but not bedizened with finery; her ornaments were costly, rare, and such as could not fail to attract notice, but they did not look as though worn with that purpose. She well knew the great architectural secret of decorating her construction, and never descended to constructing a decoration. But when we have said that Mrs. Stanhope knew how to dress, and used her knowledge daily, we have said it all. Other purpose in life she had none. (pg. 63)

Oh well, just one more quote:

There is, perhaps, no greater hardship at present inflicted on mankind in civilised and free countries, than the necessity of listening to sermons. No one but a preaching clergyman has, in these realms, the power of compelling an audience to sit silent, and be tormented. No one but a preaching clergyman can revel in platitudes, truisms, and untruisms, and yet receive as his undisputed privilege, the same respectful demeanour as though words of impassioned eloquence, or persuasive logic, fell from his lips. Let a professor of law or physic find his place in a lecture-room, and there pour forth jejune words and useless empty phrases, and he will pour them forth to empty benches. Let a barrister attempt to talk without talking well, and he will talk but seldom. A judge’s charge need be listened to per force by none but the jury, prisoner, and gaoler. A member of Parliament can be coughed down or counted out. Town-councillors can be tabooed. But no one can rid himself of the preaching clergyman. (pp 46-47)