It's a living... but WHAT it?
July 22, 2010 3:07 PM Subscribe
I'm dipping back into Jane Austen for some comfort reading, as one does, and I'm reminded that I still haven't figured out what exactly a "living" is.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit to society & culture (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
On the surface it seems straightforward: a clergyman is offered a living which amounts to a home and salary, and for which he ministers to the population. My assumption here is that the house and salary come from the lord or what-have-you of that patch of land, as a fulfillment of his obligation to provide "his" people with a clergyman.
But in Mansfield Park, Sir Thomas finds himself short of cash and as an economy has to give the family living away to someone not of his choosing. If a living worked as I thought it did, then he'd be paying either way - so how does he save money by having a different person take the position?
For bonus points, does a living refer to any other sort of essential position, or only specifically the position of village clergy?
The living was hereafter for Edmund; and, had his uncle died a few years sooner, it would have been duly given to some friend to hold till he were old enough for orders. But Tom's extravagance had, previous to that event, been so great, as to render a different disposal of the next presentation necessary, and the younger brother must help to pay for the pleasures of the elder.