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set out England's growth from her beginnings till our own times. And they were certainly not written from a Catholic standpoint; the encroachments of Church and Pope were carefully suggested. It seemed always intended to show that the haughty foe of princes and peoples alike was the Church, above all as represented by her Head. But Fernando would not believe. He was vehemently a monarchist, but half his strong conviction of the rights of Kings came from his idea that they fitted naturally into the great scheme of Christendom, of which the Head was not a King, but a priest; and his feeling of the sanctity of their office was very like that of the Middle Ages-their crowning was not a mere ceremonial, but had a sacramental character. A bad man might be made a priest, but he must be a priest for ever; and a bad man might be made a king, but his anointing could never be effaced. For the Kings of England, personally, as he read of them, he did not care very much; for Edward the Confessor, and for Henry VI he did care with a peculiar, wistful affection ; they were made out failures, and for them on whom history has set the cold label of failure he had a deep and reverent tenderness.
And those two gentle kings were sweet of life, devout, and spiritual, better courtiers of a greater king than themselves than masters of stiff and unruly man. The Church was their real home, and in the harsh jostle of their own realms they had been but exiles.
Half of Fernando's sad loyalty to the first Charles was due to the broken fortunes of that coldly slaughtered sovereign, the other half rose from the belief, true or mistaken, that he was the martyr of men who hated every reminder of the old religion. It was the Dutch Protestantism of William of Orange that made him utterly repulsive to Fernando, and the fact that he stood in opposition to the Catholic and real king. To Fernando all England seemed strewn with the bones of the old Church; not ugly charnel-house bones, but lovely relics, with a poignant sad fragrance-the ruins of abbeys, the old churches, and the old cathedrals, village crosses here and there, or the stumps of crosses desecrated and overthrown, the Colleges of Oxford, Cambridge, Winchester and Eton. For every scrap of antiquarian lore he had hungry ears, but chiefly because all of it that he heard was ecclesiastical, and served to witness the Catholic genesis
of buildings that had long forgotten Catholic
Of the Catholic Church, as still alive, potent and full of unaging vigour, in other lands, he could not think at first, because he did not know. Though half Irish he never set foot in Ireland till he was twelve years old, and his passionate love of the old faith and the old Church had been an inextricable part of him long before this. Of course long before then, too, he knew that Ireland was Catholic, and Spain and Italy, France and Poland, Austria and half Germany, and all the huge southern half of the New World. But, at first, when he began to cast longing and loving eyes back on the Catholic England in which he would have wished to live, he only knew England, and scarcely knew of any countries outside it except as distant names. So that his ideas of the Catholic Church were of a splendid and lovely thing that had had a thousand years of English life, and then had been foully murdered: full well he hated her effectual murderer, and, never having an enemy of his own, he made Henry VIII his abhorred enemy: and of all the women who ever lived he loathed Elizabeth the worst. That she destroyed her captive kinswoman Mary was enough, for
him, to prove the Queen of Scots perfect in body and soul. Henry and Elizabeth between them had robbed him, he felt with bitter resentment, of his own Catholicity : they had killed his right mother, and filial piety demanded his abhorrence of their memory. They had slain the Church: and she lay dead, her sweet bones lying up and down the land, and he could only moan over them, and kiss them with devout sorrow, and passionate remembrance of his loss. And then he was told, one memorable day, that she was not dead, and had never died; that stripped, robbed, disinherited, wounded brutally, she lived on: that the English Church he knew was the old Catholic Church
oddly habited, and with queer labels scrawled upon her face, maimed in her powers, problematic in her utterance, held aloof from her friends, but alive. I do not wonder that he leapt to the belief. Tell the strange child who has ever been thinking in secret, passionately loving and wanting in secret, the mother he believed dead, whom he thought he could not even remember, but of whom all his life long he has been shyly treasuring hints and shreds of description gathered everywhere he could-tell him that
she did not really die; that he may nestle to her warm and beating heart, and feel still her arms about him-will he not believe? Will he scan too close the ugly fashion of her raiment, unlike what he had ever heard of it, the shabbiness of the rags that scarce hide her weak, and wavering arms? If her speech be less gracious and less sweet, less wise and coherent than he has heard its dead echoes in his faithful heart, will he be too critical ? If she be indeed his mother, who was dead and is alive, can he be harsher to her than the prodigal's father was to him?
It must be bitter to the devoutly tender son to hear whispers that in her absence she has wandered far, and filled herself by times with but empty husks: but is he to make question of them? Must he be like Noe's wicked son and stare close and laugh at her shame ?
To Fernando the hearing that his mother the Church had never died in England, that the English Church was still, and always had been, Catholic: was breathlessly glad news; that it brought some disillusionment he had to try and bear. For a long time her life had not been very spiritual or glorious she had made queer friends and had lived at ease