Nov 04, '07
Consider the reverend gentleman’s lady she is the image of propriety of sober respectability her good manners some thing of which the reverend gentleman is most proud. Her modesty some thing of which other ladies in society should do well to copy. For Elizabeth James all these qualities are part of her most agreeable nature. For she is at home in the company of that class of society which is called country gentility. Even more at home as she goes about her daily life some times paying calls on her neighbors of the class into which her poor neighbor Betsy Goodbody happened to fall.
As Mrs. James attends to those tasks which make up her day she is ever mindful that upon her rests the responsibility of been a good wife to the clergyman added to this is the responsibility of bringing up there children in a manner which is most fitting for the children of a clergyman to behave. For it is true that all clergyman are judged in part by the manners and behavior of there offspring. There politeness and good breeding or lack thereof can often make or quite destroy the reputation of the hardworking clergyman. For a clergyman is largely responsible for there presentation in society. However the major part of the work falls to the ministration of the clergyman’s wife who as a rule rose at five o’clock in the morning to begin her day by saying a short prayer to the deity before beginning to labor at making breakfast for her husband and tending to the wants of there first child George who at the tender age of two years was already showing signs of been a little unruly.
Added to her current burden was seeing to the comforts of her brother in law the navy officer Edward James who although been a most agreeable visitor had that unfortunate habit of enjoying a pipe. The reverend James did not smoke for he considered the habit of smoking go be bad for ones constitution, further more he was sure that men and woman who smoked were responsible for the present condition of England’s poor health for some of these people would come in winter and often in summer coughing and spluttering to his door seeking some sort of relief for the cough.
It was a brave man or woman who did this for even as Mrs. James’s renown for her cooking had grown so had her reputation for finding cures for coughs and colds which affected the parish in winter. The bravery of the poor person applying for some thing to sooth the burning in the throat was tempered by the thought that the good woman might take it into her head and it had happened on numerous occasions before to invite the poor person to partake of what ever dish she was preparing for the reverend gentleman.
It fell to this woman of virtue to see to the particular needs of all the woman in the parish for she was often called upon to be present at times when her services as the clergyman’s wife were of particular use. Indeed she besides her one flaw was of great benefit to the parish; it was she whom the reverend James turned to when he found himself beset with finding an answer to particular difficult situations which needed the discretion of a woman to resolve. For it had been she who had hit upon the solution of taking into service in a number of the homes of the daughters of one of the many large families of the poor who had a great number of daughter who although industrious in there own home were a serious burden to poor farmer Jacob. Who having married early had fathered eleven daughters. As the seasons progressed the poor man had been driven to distraction by his household of hens for it is one thing to have one wife but to have twelve is quite another thing. Thus Elizabeth James had insisted that her husband go directly to all the homes of quality in the surrounds of Notheringay and find positions for these industrious daughters of farmer Jacob.
The clergyman had setout upon this great task with many hesitancies but the reverend gentleman’s lady would not rest until all eleven daughter of the farmer had been placed thus in the space of a fortnight the reverend gentleman had visited seven great homes and succeeded in his task, much to the satisfaction of his lady.
It was with a measure of satisfaction that the happy couple on an evening at the end of this fortnight sat down to a dinner of congealed trotters freshly baked bread and port and reminisced upon the completion of the task. “My dear Tom I am happy that you managed to find positions for the girls indeed I should imagine that Jacob will soon be at the door with a parcel of produce to show his gratitude” said Mrs. James “Indeed it was thanks in no small part to you my dear that the girls were placed so much to there advantage” remarked Mr James. “I was significantly impressed with your efforts in placing Ruth for she is of an exceptionally plain disposition, indeed I am surprised that Lady Ann even considered the girl” said Mrs. James. “My dear wife always to your benefit kind for had I thought Ruth plain I would be complementing her for her disposition is some what beneath plain her large nose does not do her any favors,” said Mr James. “Lay Ann I have always considered to be of a kind nature not given to judgment of any poor creature upon there disposition for it is not poor Ruth’s fault that she has an ugly face,” said the reverend.
“What say you brother how would you describe the girl who was here earlier to speak to Tom,” asked Elizabeth James. “Gad Lizzy she was a fearsome creature to behold I am surprised that they do not scare the children with her at bed time” said the sea officer as he tried to swallow a mouthful of the delight Mrs. James had so painstakingly prepared “Indeed I have seen smarter bousuns mates then that poor creature,” the sea officer continued. “Now Edward it is not necessary to be so unkind to one of God’s unfortunate creatures replied the reverend gentleman.