THE NEW MINISTER AT BEMERTON WAS FORTUNATE IN HAVING A wife as loving and as concerned with the welfare of the congregation as he was himself. Jane Herbert could not leave Baynton House for her new home until the rectory had been repaired, but her husband brought her accounts of the parishioners he had met. The first of these was an old woman, stricken with poverty and burdened with many troubles, and Jane at once made the trip to Salisbury, about twenty miles away, to buy her a pair of blankets. She sent them to the old woman with a message that they were "a token of her love" and that the two of them would become acquainted as soon as she could move into the rectory at Bemerton.
Not many women could have endured with grace the change from the easy living of Baynton House to the rigid requirements of a small country parish. George Herbert had warned his wife that his new profession was held in "general ignominy," but Jane Herbert seems to have been one of those delightful women, rare in the seventeenth century, who had very little sense of social degrees. She could love an old woman who needed blankets just as easily as she could love any of her illustrious Danvers cousins. She was loved, naturally enough, in return by her husband's congregation, and "this love followed her in all places as inseparably as shadows follow substances in sunshine."
With such a nature, Jane Herbert would have had no difficulty in learning one of the basic skills of her new life-the art of healing. Any woman of the period with a household of her own had to have some knowledge of it, but a minister's wife served the needs of the whole community. Twice in his handbook on the duties of a parson, Herbert emphasizes the fact that a parson's
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Publication information: Book title: Two Gentle Men:The Lives of George Herbert and Robert Herrick. Contributors: Marchette Chute - Author. Publisher: E. P. Dutton. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1959. Page number: 134.
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