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The first novel in Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire, The Warden is a compassionate portrait of the gentle, thoughtful warden and precentor of Barchester Cathedral, Mr Septimus Harding. Loved and appreciated by all with whom he works, Harding lives an ordered, regular life in his protected religious environment. Then one day, a young reformer feels he has uncovered a mismanagement of funds and Harding is held to blame. The accusation comes as a shock not only to Harding himself but also to the cathedral community. It then comes to wider notice when the cause is taken up by a national newspaper. Trollope's insight into character, his abundant imagination, and his sheer narrative skill are at their peak in The Warden.