Apr 3: Bait and Switch

So today's supposed to be a love story:
3 Romance with a Happy Ending
"As a conqueror enters a surprised city; love made such resolutions as neither party was able to resist. She changed her name into Herbert the third day after this first interview."
But it's only three paragraphs of twelve pages. Why so short? Because it was an arranged marriage:
This Mr. Danvers, having known him long, and familiarly, did so much affect him, that he often and publicly declared a desire that Mr. Herbert would marry any of his nine daughters,—for he had so many,—but rather his daughter Jane than any other, because Jane was his beloved daughter. ... Mr. Danvers had so often said the like to Jane, and so much commended Mr. Herbert to her, that Jane became so much a platonic as to fall in love with Mr. Herbert unseen.
I wonder if he ranked the daughters, sort of like the order of Presidential succession, where Jane is the president and the ninth in line is like the Secretary of Transportation or something. Still, such 17th century-style courtship must have worked, because Walton tells us "there never was any opposition betwixt them, unless it were a contest which should most incline to a compliance with the other’s desires."

But that's about it for Mrs. Herbert -- she's pretty much out of there for the rest of the passage. Except for when George, while away, is persuaded to become a minister (by the Archbishop of Canterbury), and comes home and drops this bomb:
...immediately after he had seen and saluted his wife, he said to her—“You are now a minister’s wife, and must now so far forget your father’s house as not to claim a precedence of any of your parishioners; for you are to know, that a priest’s wife can challenge no precedence or place, but that which she purchases by her obliging humility; and I am sure, places so purchased do best become them. And let me tell you, that I am so good a herald, as to assure you that this is truth.” And she was so meek a wife, as to assure him, “it was no vexing news to her, and that he should see her observe it with a cheerful willingness.”
I just have the tiniest bit of difficulty believing this amount of unvexitude -- to hear not only, "we're moving"; not only "I have a new job," but also "You have a new job -- being humble" -- well, she'd have some right to be a little vexed. But away she goes, away and out of our narrative (talk about humility!), and for the rest of the reading it's How To Pastor. Basically his congregation doesn't know jack about the church they're in, so he has to break it down for them; and Walton has to break it down for us, like in this example:
And for the hymns and lauds appointed to be daily repeated or sung after the first and second lessons are read to the congregation; he proceeded to inform them, that it was most reasonable, after they have heard the will and goodness of God declared or preached by the priest in his reading the two chapters, that it was then a seasonable duty to rise up, and express their gratitude to Almighty God for those his mercies to them, and to all mankind...
I chose this excerpt, which I could see one finding the tiniest bit boring, because of its excellent use of the word "seasonable." Many of the readings in this project are like that -- you just have to keep plowing through and occasionally you find something shiny.

I was a Religious Studies major, so I have a high tolerance for this stuff; besides which, I knew the answers already, except for this:
He made them know also why the Church hath appointed emberweeks;
What? Never heard of them. And after pages of explaining stuff I already knew, now Walton runs for the exits!

I did find out, though -- thanks to Wikipedia. So I guess the Harvard Classics have almost helped me learn something after all.

No comments: