"it's the subscription to the Vicar's testimonial," "or else it's the choir holiday fund" "It does break up an evening so,"

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Baheth

Senior Member
Arabic
Ruth—she was the parlour-maid and had red hair—came in and said that two gentlemen wanted to see the master.

"I've shown them into the Library, Sir," said she.

"I expect it's the subscription to the Vicar's testimonial," said Mother, "or else it's the choir holiday fund. Get rid of them quickly, dear. It does break up an evening so, and it's nearly the children's bedtime."

But Father did not seem to be able to get rid of the gentlemen at all quickly.

It is from E. Nesbit's 'The Railway Children' Could you please shed some light on these phrases?
 
  • tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    A testimonial is a money collected to show appreciation of the work and/or services of somebody. Mother assumed that the two gentlemen had called to collect money for such a gift to the local vicar.

    They might also be collecting contributions to a sum of money that would pay for a holiday for members of the church choir.
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    You're welcome.

    The setting up of funds to provide for people who could not afford pensions, holidays or, in extreme cases, food or clothing, was common in former times. As recently (well, to an old fogey like me) as the 1950s, my mother used to take in children from poor homes in London for summer holidays in the country. She received some money towards the cost from a national fund set up for this purpose.
     
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