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"...no confidence in his administration of worldly affairs..."

Sharp sketch of a marriage, from Willa Cather's The Song of the Lark:
She had profound respect for her husband's erudition and eloquence. She sat under his preaching with deep humility, and was as much taken in by his stiff shirt and white neckties as if she had not ironed them herself by lamplight the night before they appeared correct and spotless in the pulpit. But for all this, she had no confidence in his administration of worldly affairs. She looked to him for morning prayers and grace at table; she expected him to name the babies and to supply whatever parental sentiment there was in the house, to remember birthdays and anniversaries, to point the children to moral and patriotic ideals. It was her work to keep their bodies, their clothes, and their conduct in some sort of order, and this she accomplished with a success that was a source of wonder to her neighbors.
I quite like that phrase "sat under his preaching" - Mrs. Kronborg deeply respects her husband, but only within his limited realm. He is a man of great words but, apparently, little common sense. I can picture her sitting in the pew, head bowed as Reverend Kronborg's lofty words flurry the air above her, but his domination all but ends at the church door. Back home, she is in charge.

October 19, 2015 in Books | Permalink

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