Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Modern Curate

Published in 1881, "The Modern Curate," was a collection of unsigned articles that had previously appeared in The Graphic, a London weekly. The anonymous author advised would be clerics on many subjects, including marriage. His advice: put it off.
"Young women are, unfortunately, only too ready to take penniless young priests* "for better or worse," without any misgiving that it may be "for worse " only. They indulge in roseate dreams of rectories, lifelong comfort and good social position. They forget that preferment is never certain, that there can be no comfort with a family in a poverty stricken house, and that good society is rather inclined to give "the cold shoulder" to paupers. The women do not think of these things; the men who marry them, should."
One young curate, who apparently did think of such things, was the Rev. Arthur Fryer. In 1881, the year the book was published, he balked at keeping his promise to marry Miss Kate Lamb, daughter of a prominent Hampshire family. The result was a sensational trial for "breach-of-promise to marry." All England debated whether the curate was properly cautious or a cruel jilter. The story of Lamb v Fryer is told in the new Kindle EBook collection - Clerical Errors - A Victorian Series, Volume 1. ($5.49 US; £3.86 UK) 
Kindle apps are FREE for your phones or tablet.

* By the Victorian period, the term "priest" had taken on its modern meaning, referring to a Catholic clergyman. However, clergy in the Church of England were still ordained as "priests."
Illustration: Google Books.

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