Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Portentous Old Parishioner

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Charles Dickens, in his book "Our Mutual Friend," writes of a pastor and his wife traveling for a wedding. At the train station this happens:

"That worthy couple were delayed by a portentous old parishioner of the female gender, who was one of the plagues of their lives, and with whom they bore with most exemplary sweetness and good-humor, notwithstanding her having all infection of absurdity about her, that communicated itself to everything with which, and everybody with whom, she came in contact. She was a member of the Reverend Frank's congregation, and made a point of distinguishing herself in that body by conspicuously weeping at everything, however cheering, said by the Reverend Frank in his public ministration; also by applying to herself the various lamentations of David, and complaining in a personally injured manner (much in arrear of the clerk and the rest of the respondents) that her enemies were digging pitfalls about her, and breaking her with rods of iron. . .This very exacting member of the fold appeared to be endowed with a sixth sense, in regard of knowing when the Reverend Frank Milvey least desired her company, and with promptitude appearing in his little hall. . ."

pp 707-708, Wordsworth Classics Edition

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