Saturday, February 17, 2007

If A book is a good friend, meet one of my new pals.

I've finished my second reading of Bede's Charity by Hesba Stretton. Sarah, whose blog is called Bend in the River, commented that her husband lovingly wondered how she could read the Anne of Green Gables books over and over again. My dear hubby has had similar ponderings. He reads a book once and then sends it on to a good home. I, on the other hand, adopt certain books as lifelong friends, and I love them even when they have cracks in their spines and wrinkles on their covers. I suppose I shall love them even more now that the same might be said of me!

I'm thinking that Bede's Charity might join my circle of friends. To be honest, this new friend has a few flaws. The story is maudlin and the writing is too syrupy, especially for today's reading tastes. But, I love the way the author conveys the simple, child-like faith of her main character, Margery Beade. I also love the way the book describes Victorian London, where extremes of poverty and extremes of wealth co-existed within a small sphere. The book has a lot to say about using our lives either to serve others or to consume as much as we can for ourselves. It also has a lot to say about being content within the circumstances God has planned for us.

This slim little volume manages to cover several decades of Margery's humble life within a surprizingly few chapters. Margery begins life as a farmer's daughter in a small village, but circumstances force her to move to London. As she experiences a string of heartaches and privations, she focuses not on herself, but on how she can help those who are suffering more than she is.

Everything that happens to Margery -- whether it be a severe trial or a great joy -- reminds her in some way of the Lord. For example, when helping her uncle keep house, she reflects, "If the Bible did no tell us that He was poor, I shold have known it from His own words. Who would have talked about putting new pieces upon old garments or about sweeping diligently, if he had not seen his mother doing it? So, whilst I was busy over these and a hundred household works like them, I knew that he knew exactly all about them, and that made them sweet to me."

So, if you'd like to read about Margery's adventures, check out "Beade's Charity."



Vintage Wine said...

Hi Elizabeth (I love the spelling of the name, I've always wanted to spell mine with a z instead of a s)
Thank you for stopping by at my blog and leaving a comment. I'm going to take a closer look at your blog now, but I really like what I've seen so far :-)
Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

I love some books so much, as well as Anne of Green Gables I've also read A Little Princess by FH Burnett over and over. The same with The Sleeping Tiger and The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher. Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Some books just warm the soul. It's good to fix our minds on lovely things when so much in the world is unlovely.

Julieann said...

I have never heard of the book that you mentioned, I will have to check it out. I can read the Little House books over and over:)


Elizabeth said...

Hi Vintage Wine,

I love your blog-o-sphere name, Vintage Wine. And, of course, I love your irl name, too! It's funny that you wished to spell your Elisabeth with a "z", as I've sometimes wondered what it would be like to spell my Elizabeth with an "s"!

Hi Sarah,

I so agree with you that it's good to fix our minds on lovely things when so much in the world is unlovely. I'm always on the lookout for books that warm the soul, as you describe it.

Hi Julieann,

I've always loved the Little House books.

Candy said...

Thanks for the kind comment on my blog :)
I like your blog the pink! :)

~ Candy

MrsA said...

I haven't heard of this book, but it sounds like a very good book. I will have to see if paperbackswap has it or if my library has it. Thank for posting it.

I too have books that are in my circle of friends that I hold near and dear to me. Most of them are my homemaking books, Amish stories, pioneer stories and the like.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Candy and Mrs. A.:)

Thanks for commenting!

I've enjoyed getting to see your blogs.