Thursday, November 19, 2015

"The Dear Bishop's Tuesdays"

So, I was dipping into one of Warnie Lewis's books today (THE SUNSET OF THE SPLENDID CENTURY), and came across a passage that I think suggests more than it says.

Here's the passage in question; WHL is describing the shortcomings and character flaws of Louis Auguste de Bourbon, better known as the Duc du Maine, one of The Sun King's legitimized illegitimate children:

[Had he been made an Abbott] his life  would
have worked itself out in the service of his order. 
Even happier perhaps had he been the Bishop 
of some not very important See, for he shares with 
Cowper and Richardson something of their chaste craving 
for constant and intimate female companionship. His piety, 
his conversational charm, the very shyness which so 
handicapped him in the world, would in more fortunate 
circumstances have made him the focal point 
and oracle of a circle of elderly ladies 
-- "the dear Bishop's Tuesdays" -- 
we can almost hear the conversation
[pages 96-97]

What's striking about this is that WHL seems to me to be holding young Louis (and the poet Cowper. and the novelist Richardson), in contempt for preferring the society of women over that of men. Perhaps we need look no further into the question people sometimes raise about why there were no women in the Inklings.

--John R.
current watching: more BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES dvd extras.

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