Tory Historian finished The Diary of a Country Parson, the very much shortened version of Parson Woodforde's voluminous diary. The elegant little tome in The World's Classics series of Oxford University Press reminds one of the small eighteenth century volumes that readers carried in their coat pockets or reticules. It is such a pity that financial considerations prevent the publication of long books in several small volumes. It would be a good deal easier to read Andrew Roberts's magisterial biography of Lord Salisbury if it were in five or six small tomes, one of which would be possible to carry around wherever one went.
On the other hand, there are certain frustrations in reading such a very small portion of the diary. While the picture of an eighteenth century country parish, the nearest town, Norwich, with its shops and entertainments, the long coach journeys to London, Bath and the Woodforde family's homes in Somerset emerge most attractively, much has to be guessed at for it is not in the selection.
John Beresford has preferred to concentrate on the Norfolk years so little is known of the previous Oxford and Somerset ones, the latter being of great interest.
There is no help for it. Tory Historian will have to read, no doubt in many instalments, the full diary.
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