In Hardy's The Distracted Preacher, the first page has this really long sentence:
But when those of the inhabitants who styled themselves of his connection became acquainted with him, they were rather pleased with the substitute than otherwise, though he had scarcely as yet acquired ballast of character sufficient to steady the consciences of the hundred-and-forty Methodists of pure blood who, at this time, lived in Nether-Moynton, and to give in addition supplementary support to the mixed race which went to church in the morning and chapel in the evening, or when there was a tea--as many as a hundred-and-ten people more, all told, and including the parish-clerk in the winter-time, when it was too dark for the vicar to observe who passed up the street at seven o'clock--which, to be just to him, he was never anxious to do.
This is probably a really simple answer, but given the length of this sentence I'm having trouble determining what "he was never anxious to do"? Is it go to a tea? Is it steadying the consciences of / giving supplementary support to the people in the town? Is it becoming acquainted with the inhabitants?
Also curious whether this technically qualifies as a run-on sentence? It's certainly one of the longest ones I've seen, and I'm assuming it is included for comedic effect. I haven't yet read other works of Hardy's, so I don't know if this is a common occurrence.