Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Sunday 16th April, 1837

Not, I am pleased to say, the busiest of weeks.

We continue to settle in to our beachside accommodation and keep discovering new hidey holes. My particular favourite is the space between the billiard table and the upturned chaise longue and I have taken to having my morning cup of tea there.

I received a letter this week from His Nibs Angas who writes to let me know of the possibility of Silesian settlers traveling to our colony and asking what I think of this.

It would appear that they are devout followers of Martin Luther and are arguing with other devout followers of Martin Luther about what ought to go in their prayer book. It seems that it is bare knuckles and no holds barred over some triviality or other regarding the wording of the Eucharist Service.

I must say it evidences great piety in these Lutherans that they exercise their concentration enough during the service to even notice the wording if the Eucharist Service. Charles "Light Fingers" Howard (the sail thief) could probably recite verses of "The Jolly Tinker" during Communion and no-one would notice for all the attention they pay him.

Be that as it may, these Prussians are looking to head somewhere they can use the prayerbook of their choice and having been turned down flat in Russia and America have set their eyes on Adelaide as a last resort. It appears that Angas is of the opinion that they are just what the colony needs - industrious, pious and of good character - and God knows we have few enough of that sort here already. He also tells me that they make excellent sauerkraut and this, it seems, is meant to endear them to me!

Angas asks me what I think should be done and for myself I think he can put them where the monkey put the nuts. If they are so ready to argue amongst themselves about something as piddling as where the commas go in the creed, do we really need them out here mixing with the likes of Fisher and Brown, who see in-fighting as a casual recreation?

And they make wine. Heaven help us if they meet up with old Spongeguts Gilles, whose drunken rages are becoming the talk of the town.

However, all this, I fear, is not what Angas wants to hear and a good maxim in this life is "When Angas asks, give him the answer he desires." So of course I will write and say "Goodness me, Mr Angas! What a splendid notion! What a clever man you are!"

Anyway, these sauerkrauters still need to negotiate with the Company for passage, still need to receive permission to leave Prussia from the Emperor  and still need to arrange ships and travel, so even if all goes smoothly (and what are the odds?) if they are here inside of a twelvemonth I shall be astonished.

I am regularly astonished by matters of this sort. The Dissenting sects breed, divide and flourish with a luxuriance not seen outside the jungles of Java.

Only the other day I inadvertently gave, it seems, great offence to a chap who described himself as "A Baptist" in matters of religion. I mentioned the name of another settler who similarly described himself. My companion flew into a high rage and announced that he was a Particular Baptist whilst the other was a General Baptist and did I have the temerity to suggest that they might have aught in common? I might have thought that, with the total number of those answering to the name "Baptist"of any sort (man, woman an child)  probably numbering less than thirty in the colony , the last thing they could afford to do was squabble amongst themselves. Instead they divide and divide again into ever smaller cabals.

And really, do not start me on the Weslyans. Every ten minutes there seems to be a new variety. Weslyans, Methodists, Primitive Methodists, Not so Primitive Weslyans, Reformed Weslyans, Not Quite so Reformed Methodists. And none of them talking to the others and all of them claiming to be the only right one. They might dissent from the established church, but they all have a strong distaste for each other. I'll give a guinea to anyone who can properly explain the difference between them.

And then, not content with arguing amongst themselves they start in on other religions.

Howard the Master Criminal expressed to me his concern that we had in the colony a family of what he rather coyly referred to as "a descendant of Abraham" and what would we do to "bring them to the light". By which he means - in his mealy mouthed way - we have a Jewish family in the colony and Charlie wants to convert them and get them into his own congregation.

Silly bugger! Jew or not, Phillip Lee and is wife are as charming a pair as any in the colony and his work as a clothier is fine. I had him make me a pair of trousers and they fit like a glove and are damned comfortable.

Charlie is just annoyed that they get to spend Sundays without the joy of hearing him spouting forth with his unique mixture of banalities and long-windedness. Personally I cannot help but feel that if being Jewish means not having to hear Charlie Howard preach then I may yet convert. Circumcision seems a very small sacrifice.

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