I am still reading Brideshead Revisited and yesterday I read something in it that until about 6 months ago I had never heard of:
“Does your family always talk about religion all the time?”
“Not all the time. It’s a subject that just comes up naturally, doesn’t it?”
“Does it? It never has with me before”
“Then perhaps you are an agnostic. I’ll pray for you.”
“That’s very kind of you”
“I can’t spare you a whole rosary you know. Just a decade. I’ve got such a long list of people. I take them in order and they get a decade once a week.”
“I’m sure it’s more than I deserve”
“Oh, I’ve got some harder cases than you. Lloyd George and the Kaiser and Olive Banks”
“Who is she?”
“She was bunked from the convent last term. I don’t quite no what for. Reverend Mother found something she’d been writing. D’you know, if you weren’t an agnostic, I should ask you for five shillings to buy a black god-daughter.”
“Nothing will surprise me about your religion”
“It’s a new thing a missionary priest started last term. You send five bob to some nuns in Africa and they christen a baby and name her after you. I’ve got six black Cordelias. Isn’t it lovely?”
Er... so, with all its kind of racist ovetones, it's the “black baby box”. G was talking about this a few months ago and I slightly incredulously asked what it was. Basically it seems that the Catholic church used to (I know very little about the Catholic church, but I assume no longer does) get school children to put money (maybe a few pence) in the ‘black baby box’ and then it would be sent to Africa to do – I’m not really sure what specifically, but apparently it would be noted if you didn’t put money in (incidentally I’m sure it wasn’t to get babies named after you as in the quote above). Is it just me who had never heard of this very strange Catholic act of charity??
Anyway, on other matters, yesterday I helped C to prepare for an interview this morning. We went through each of her answers and I gave her some advice on how she could make them a bit more high level and maybe put herself across a bit better. Given that we don’t actually want her to leave, I’m not really sure why I am willing to help her prepare, but I guess it seems a bit mean not to do so. So fingers crossed that she doesn’t get it...