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This report is taken from PN Review 84, Volume 18 Number 4, March - April 1992.

The Patrick White I Never Knew Martin Jarrett-Kerr
Martin Jarrett-Kerr of the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield, died late last year. A sporadic contributor to P·N·R, he was a noted teacher and essayist with an extremely wide range of interests. At the time of his death the following piece was in proof for P·N·R, slight compared with his more substantial contributions on literature and theology, but welcome in that it will remind readers of an urbane and valued voice which lives on in his major prose works.

It was only after reading three of his novels - much admiring them - that by chance I came upon a biographical note on Patrick White. I found he was three months older than I and that we were exact contemporaries at the same school. Later, from his autobiographical Flaws in The Glass, I learned that he was confirmed at school by the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev A.C. Headlam. We only had one confirmation per year so we must have been in the same 'confirmation class'. Headlam was tall, grim and acidulous. His chaplain described one of his confirmations in our Chapel:

I shall never forget the indignation on the faces of both boys and staff at Cheltenham College on one occasion. The boys came up to the Bishop in a slouching way, even some with hands in their pockets. The Bishop stopped half-way through the 'laying-on-of-hands' and compared the behaviour of those in front of him very unfavourably with the smart bearing of the lads ...


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