I read Middlemarch during a really good stretch of reading I had after Baby 2. (I had no friends. None. I almost joined an exercise group at St. Barbara's.) I needed some help with it, though, of precisely the kind this book provides. I'll leave the fun of getting the clergy straight to you (not to mention the drinks and the carriages), but here were the funny parts I remember even now:
One of the quainter, and more confusing, fixtures in your nineteenth century novel is the local clergyman. On the one hand, it was hard to arrange an evening of whist without deferring to the rector; on the other hand, his wife always seemed to show up wearing someone's cast-off frock. Or was that the vicar's wife? And why, pray tell, wasn't the curate invited?
. . .
Members of the "inferior clergy," curates were known for being poor, insecure, and a little uncouth; in your novel, the curate will probably have a large brood of ragged children for whom the gentle heroine is constantly making up baskets of provisions.
An Incomplete Education by Judy Jones and William Wilson
Whist again? They know we have six kids, right?