The implications of Sabbatarianism, which has so often been described by Victorian autobiographers and novelists, are drawn out by Trollope in Barchester Towers (1857). He explains that Mrs Proudie, wife of the Bishop of Barchester,

is in her own way a religious woman; and the form in which this tendency shows itself in her is by a strict observance of Sabbatarian rule. Dissipation and low dresses during the week are, under her control, atoned for by three services, an evening sermon read by herself, and a perfect abstinence from any cheering employment on the Sunday. Unfortunately for those under her roof to whom the dissipation and low dresses are not extended, her servants namely and her husband, the compensating strictness of the Sabbath includes all. (ch. 3, "Dr. and Mrs. Proudie")

Thomas Hood's 'Ode to Rae Wilson, Esq.', which makes all the usual charges against the Evangelicals, remarks that unlike 'Those pseudo Privy Councillors of God',

No solemn sanctimonious face I pull,
Nor think I'm pious when I'm only bilious
Nor study in my sanctum supercilious
To frame a Sabbath Bill.


Victorian Web main screen Biblical Typology Contents

Print version published 1980; web version 1998