“Good heavens!” exclaimed the immortal Dr Grantly, “Good heavens!”
The ever present Mrs Grantly was at his side, she’d long since given over saying “What is it, Archdeacon?”. It all seemed so unnecessary, of course she would be told soon enough and it seemed best to let him marshal his thoughts in his own time rather than press him with any immediacy.
Immortality has been kind to Dr Grantly. He is still the master of Plumstead Episcopi, Archdeacon Emeritus of Barchester and lord to Mrs Grantly. The Bishop of Barchester toleraltes him, the Bishop is a tolerant man, he tolerates everything. Dr Grantly has little time for the Bishop, but most of the time he is left to himself in the little world of Plumstead Episcopi and little can trouble him from there.
We are with him as he journeys through Barsetshire in his ageing but stately Rover 75, immortality has made his driving only slightly erratic. He is taking the old road to Barchester There is a nice new dual carriage way but he finds he cannot take it without anger rising in his veins. It pays no respect to the old boundaries and from there it is possible to see those infernal wind farms polluting the once majestic rolling hills in this most English of counties. “Mechanised virtue signalling from delusional, deranged liberals who have no idea about proper care of the land or the environment”, he would say. Mrs Grantly has heard this litany often and prefers not to trigger it. Sharp readers will note however that Dr Grantly has kept up with the times, he is familiar with terms like “virtue signalling” and he finds himself very taken with some Canadian fellow on You Tube who says some good things, but whose name escapes him for now.
Let us return to Dr Grantly words. He has now mastered his thoughts sufficiently to speak to Mrs Grantly about the mater that had been so bothersome to him. “I have had my Twitter account shut down for hate speech”, exclaimed the Archdeacon Emeritus. “Hate speech”, the term was hurtful to him and he couldn’t for the life of him remember hating anyone. Loathing, yes. He was good at loathing, but always with good reason and always for the good of God, Queen and Country. Hate was altogether too strong for the Archdeacon Emeritus and he was saddened that he could be labelled a hater.
But readers will know that Dr Grantly isn’t the only immortal. “The Jupiter” still thunders and Tom Towers is ever young and ever more potent. They have changed with the times and are not now know by those names, but they are there and very much in control of this country. As Dr Grantly will tell you, “those Whig lunatics who have the temerity to call themselves Tories cling to power through sheer weight of their own incompetence” need more than a little help from “The Jupiter” and the gods of Mt Olympus.
What has transpired to raise the ire of Dr Grantly? What indeed! Only that his old College has fallen, indeed Oxford itself has fallen. The hallowed hall of Lazarus had been used for a “blessing” of a “gay marriage” between two souls who thought Jesus was a good guy but were far more into their Eastern philosophy. A yogi had performed the ceremony. Dr Grantly didn’t like speaking in inverted commas, but he was determined that “gay marriage” would never be a phrase that would become a reality through sheer stint of usage, he would never submit to that. He had tweeted something along those lines to his large number of followers, but “The Jupiter” had got wind of this and now he could tweet no more.
But our clerical songbird was not defeated. He’d received a e-mail from a kindly admirer congratulating him for being male, white, heterosexual, privileged and a Christian and hence the public enemey of Cultural Marxists everywhere. Dr Grantly liked the sound of that, it stoked the fire in his belly, he would not be returning his laurels of immortality any time soon. Canterbury had fallen, Barchester had fallen, Oxford had fallen but Plumstead Episcopi would never fall.
He put his foot purposefully on the accelerator, the Rover 75 purred in submission and the good doctor made his way to Barchester.
With apologies of Anthony Trollope and Fr Hunwicke (whose blog gave me the idea for this post).