But there's one bunch of people in this parish who make the Vicar really very unhappy. The Reformed Methodists.
See, he can't think of any way to stop them turning up to the morning service. But after they've attended that, and normally Evensong to boot - which happens at 3pm - they then traipse into Casterbridge for another - "proper", as they put it - evening service. Sometimes they can go on for hours, singing their hymns and quivering with the fear of hell.
Still, first thing of a Monday morning they're up and afield bright and early before the Anglicans. Who've normally had a few too many after Evensong and are busy sleeping it off. What a wonderful example the Reformed Methodists are to the rest of my workfolk. I'd think of getting them all turned chapel members, but I don't think Parson Maybold would be too happy.
It's a thing I'm generally seeing. The religious folk are becoming more religious, and the less so - increasingly less so. The more lace and candles and general mimsying around Maybold introduces, the happier the keenies are. And I'm ever so pleased with weekday Matins and Evensong, so I can't moan too much. The Methodists preach longer sermons and sing the infinitely extended hymns of Wesley. The Baptists smugly tell everyone else they're not saved. The Catholics rejoice in their rediscovered identity. And everyone else - and the overwhelming majority, as it turns out, in the cities - wonder what all the fuss is about. They reckon the chances of being chosen for upstairs when they die are slim anyway, and stay abed of a Sunday as it's not worth the hike to church,