Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vacancy at Nailchester

So how would Trollope do it? Who knows but that rarely stops me:

Mr Henry Johnson was the Church Warden residing at, shall we say, Nailchester. Were we to call it Clevedon, Wells or Weston-super-Mare readers may assume some offence was intended. Nailchester it will be and thus no personality may be upset.

Mr Johnson had been Warden of the Parish Church for five years and his duties he had carried out with little passion but neither with any fuss nor lack of dignity. He had in this the support of Mrs Lavinia Johnson, a fine, upright woman who organised functions, baked excellent cakes and supported him and his two remaining dependent daughters with sympathy in public and criticism only behind closed doors.

The pride of their life was their oldest daughter Hannah who had attracted the glance, attention and eventually proposal of the Bishop's son Thadeus Grimley. They lived in Kelton Rectory, a living that became conveniently vacant shortly after the marriage with the unexpected translation of Prebendary Septimus Cheese to an Archdeaconry many miles north of here.

Yet now Mr Johnson was in a quandary, for he had, not ten minutes previously, received the news that the Rector of Nailchester was to retire to a gentle living on the coast of Cornwall. Mr Johnson had a vacancy to fill. He had assumed that the Bishop would deal with this but had been informed that the Patronage of Nailchester Parish lay with a minor member of the aristocracy in Yorkshire.

Murmurs would begin in Nailchester - perhaps few and far between at first but you will know about the velocity of rumours - and if Mr Johnson were not extremely pro-active they might descend into chatter and finally end as gossip. He did not care for the idea of being extremely anything, and certainly not pro-active.

Furthermore Mrs Johnson, the moment she heard the news, began checking the various clerical directories in the vicar's vestry while she was cleaning it, to see if she could locate an appropriate unmarried candidate for the post with private means.

1 comment:

RuthJ said...

Sublime. But where in Trollope would you find 'pro-active'? Anachronistic usage, my dear St