Meditation and Reflection

Mrs Proudie: "the current zeitgeist favours petticoat government"


Goodness! It’s out with the old and in with the new and no mistake. One is not a great admirer of Mrs. Shariah Dismay, but as she has assumed the mantle of the Blessed Margaret and is the new chatelaine of Number 10 we must wait and see what she serves up. One hopes it is not cold comfort with something nasty waiting in the woodshed. Meanwhile, Eddie-ina the Eagle swoops down to ‘putsch’ Mr. Corbyn from his perch (the tenacity with which that man clings is widely admired according to The Jupiter, particularly in Pyongyang). Mr. Slope tells me Ms. Eagle is of a Sapphic persuasion (he’s been doing some undercover work); the reference rings a bell but one cannot put one’s finger on it – something to do with Greek Orthodoxy no doubt. It seems the current zeitgeist favours petticoat government, what with Frau Merkin in Berlin and the Hildabeast set to capture the White House and unleash the dogs of war. John Knox must be spinning in his grave. The bishop thinks (and one agrees with him) that this would never do in Barchester, where traditional values prevail and ladies know their place… ahem.

Pardon the cough.

One likes Canadians – they do some ingenious things with maple syrup. Some of Mr. Slope’s best friends are lumberjacks (he met them on a mission station in Loose Jaw or some such place) and they are always welcome at The Palace for their bright and breezy attitude to life, provided they wipe their boots and leave their choppers by the door. Mr. Carney of Threadneedle Street is one such hearty – a Canadian that is – but his comments during the Neverendum leaves a question mark over his career. Unemployment beckons; but be not a-feared, Mr. Carney, a managerial post at the Barchester and Silverbridge Mutual Improvident Bank is vacant and I’m sure we can shoe-horn you in.

The news of Rochester’s financial crisis set off alarm bells, so a visit to see the Treasurer was high on the agenda this week. The office of Treasurer in Barchester Diocese is held by none other than Archdeacon Grantly, surprise surprise. He did not take kindly to being asked to see the books. The figures looked impressive; the income stream more of a raging torrent. How could this be?

The Archdeacon looked sheepish.

“Historical anomaly, dear lady. You see, some parts of the Henrician reforms didn’t reach Barchester on account of the signposts being turned round 180 degrees. Consequently, the cathedral does a roaring trade in selling Indulgences. Whatever naughtiness a person has indulged in, we can provide the necessary ‘Get out of Purgatory’ card (for a fee) and everybody’s happy. We get many discreet enquiries from Westminster.”

Pointed out the Church of England does not hold with such popish doctrines.

“For goodness sake, madam, keep that opinion to yourself and let sleeping dogs lie,” spluttered the Archdeacon, closing the account books with something of a snap. He gave me a sly look.

“Have you heard of something called ‘Peter’s Pence’ by any chance?”

“No, Archdeacon.”

“Thank goodness for that!” he exclaimed, but said no more.

Perhaps Mr. Carney would care to be the new Treasurer? But then again, those sleeping dogs do look rather peaceful…

Must fly. Signora Neroni has invited some of the more discerning ladies of Barchester round to make suggestions for the new Prime Minister’s wardrobe. I shall propose a return to the bustle – hinge the top and she’ll have a convenient storage space for the red boxes. The dress she wore to kiss hands had an unflattering yellow streak – granted it was around the middle and not down the back, but even so. A challenge for ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ perhaps? I bid you all good day…