Quite a gentle and melancholy story, and a rather unusual plot. It was not as angry in tone as The Way We Live Now.
However, I have several questions about the ethics of some of the characters:

Mr Bold took up the case of the bedesmen (pensioners at the old folks' home) because he did not think Mr Hiram's historic will was being properly executed. Should he have taken up the case? He has a conflict of interest. He has nothing to gain by taking up the case, and plenty to lose, but the fact that he loves the warden's daughter means he cannot be independent. Actually, I don't think there is a conflict of interest problem, because Mr Bold is not acting as a legal arbiter. He does not have to press the cause of the bedesmen, but if does not then no one else will.

Before he resigns, the warden considers taking a voluntary pay cut, but does not because he does not want to tie the bishop's hands or put his successor in the position where he would also have to take a pay cut. But if Mr Harding feels strongly that he is benefiting too much from Mr Hiram's will, then why should he not think the same of his successor?

It is possible that Mr Harding was benefiting too much from Mr Hiram's will. 800 a year was a lot in those days. Mr Hiram wrote his will in Mediaeval times, and the intention of the will was that twelve old men who had no families to look after them would be cared for, and that a certain amount of money would pay someone to care for them. The revenues from Mr Hiram's estate had increased greatly over the centuries, much more than that needed to care for the old men. Like Dr Grantley says, Mr Hiram never intended to make gentlemen of the old men, and as Mrs Grantley says, the old men could not be happier than they are. They are too old and broken down to be able to enjoy spending it. The revenues from the estate would have worked out as about 100 a year for each of them. Strangely, Mr Harding thinks he would be quite poor on 160 a year to support himself and his daughter. However these old men were manual workers or farm labourers most their lives, so probably never earned that much. However 100 a year was not enough to be middle class. About 150 seems to be the minimum.

If Mr Harding was getting paid too much then what would be the solution? I thought that perhaps Mr Harding should take a pay cut but that the extra money should go to caring for more bedesmen.