"Dr. Wortle's School" by Anthony Trollope

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My one exposure to Trollope, and I came away quite impressed. The story deals not so much with the titular doctor's school, but with the doctor himself. Dr. Wortle is a clergyman who runs a well-thought-of school, but who finds himself in difficulty because he refuses to turn his back on some tenants of his, Mr. and Mrs. Peacocke.

As full of integrity as he is of himself, Dr. Wortle does the right thing almost for the wrong reasons; it is difficult to like or even admire him by story's end, so prickly is Trollope's protrayal. But Dr. Wortle is proved out in the end, and in the (paraphrased) words of his detested acquaintance, Dr. Puddicombe, "He admires the doctor for protecting Mrs. Peacocke, because while it was wrong for a clergyman to do so under the circumstances, but right, morally and charitably."

I was impressed with Trollope's conception and handling of our proud and prickly Dr. Wortle. Especially convincing are the public disputes into which he flung himself and those of his acquaintance.
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