A Rather English Marriage by Angela Lambert

By Angela Lambert

First released in 1992, a slightly English Marriage tells of Roy Southgate and Reginald Conynghame-Jervi, who've not anything in universal yet their loneliness and their wartime memories.

Roy, a retired milkman and Reggie, a former RAF Squadron chief, are widowed at the similar day. to soothe their grief, the vicar arranges for Roy to maneuver in with Reggie as his unpaid manservant. To their shock, they shape an odd alliance, in response to obedience, desire and the strangeness of unmarried existence. Then Reggie meets Liz, a colourful yet near-bankrupt girl of impossible to resist charm, whereas Roy and his son's kin develop steadily nearer. Marriage, it kind of feels, even though faraway from excellent, could be a nice protector opposed to isolation.

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That understanding was not necessarily comprehensive. Palmerston, like Kingsley, was presumably a believer in the 'modem' theory that cholera, along with many other diseases, was caused by a miasma - infection carried in foul air. The role of microbes had not yet been discovered. Nevertheless, the observations which led to miasmic theory were basically sound. Dirt did breed pestilence, and efforts to improve hygiene reduced its impact. Reliance on the existence of natural laws, and on being able to discover and make use of them if one made the effort, were behind Lydgate's dream of 'making a link in the chain of discovery' and the Milton manufacturers' confidence in 'ultimate triumph over all inanimate matter'.

Then he said: 'You are right, of course. But who'll listen, if you shout it from the housetops? I might try to proclaim it myself, if I had time and energy to waste. But I have none - I must work, and so must you. The burden grows day by day, as you say. It's hopeless, perhaps, but that is not for me to discuss. ' The surgeon was a young man, but Shoreditch had helped him over the most of his enthusiasms. 'That's right,' he said, 'quite right. People are so very genteel, aren't they? Think how few men we trust with the power to give a fellow creature a year in gaol, and how carefully we pick them!

One suspects that it was largely due to fear of the consequences of encouraging debate and papers on 'political matters' among the people, whose rise to power was becoming apparent. The spread of democracy had intensified in the Third Reform Act of 1884, which completed male enfranchisement. It also removed the remaining pocket boroughs which had left disproportionate power in the hands of the conservative and country gentry-dominated establishment; it recognised the decisive shift in class structure that the Industrial Revolution had given to Britain.

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