The Revd William Tovani had been pleasurably pondering the subject of his sermon this Sunday. Wednesday was the perfect day for this: the deadline was not imminent and he could mull over various possibilities at leisure. He usually attempted to base the sermon on the bible readings allotted for the day, but just occasionally some event in the village, or even at national level, demanded a response from the pulpit.
Dr Pryce Jenkins was really a prize ass, wasn’t he – as the son of a vicar, he should have known better, but perhaps it was all that rugby that had addled his brain. Of course, everyone needs an avenue of escapism, particularly those actually at the front. And he himself was partial to a glass of whisky at the end of a long day.
But to say that perfectly healthy, safe, young females needed to spend their time with their noses buried in twopenny novelettes to avoid Reeling, Writhing and Fainting in Coils was arrant and indulgent nonsense.
The traditional Christian response – and even Dr Freud (who seemed to have made a special study of hysterical women) would agree with him on this, he felt – was to channel all this nervous energy into something useful. Let them run soup kitchens in the East End! Or, if they were looking for a physical outlet for their energies, it was not too late to offer their services to the farmers to help with the crops.
Righteous anger was a great spur to oratory – even if the next day he would have to tone it down before launching it on his genteel congregation…