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passionate cold moors. No genius was ever so impersonal; her folk are not herself in many guises; she has nothing in any of them; but her sombre and lonely spirit blows through them all like the wind through the desolation on which they and she lived.
Except for reading, Fernando had quite literally no pleasures and enjoyments whatever during the time he was at Pitville Vicarage. At Lichfield he had occasionally been asked out to tea; at Pitville there was none to ask him; and at Lichfield he had found a real enjoyment in the place itself; the place itself was detestable at Pitville.
Fortunately, it lasted only about a year, then he ceased to be a private pupil, and went home to his beloved Gracechurch.
HALF A LOAF
FERNANDO did not leave home for any other school for about two years, and they were years full of enjoyment. The whole autumn of the first year he spent in Ireland with a widowed aunt from whom, as from her daughters then and afterwards, he never experienced anything but extreme kindness. They were not rich, but their hospitality was boundless; and they were as clever and interesting as they were kind. To stay with them was no real interruption of a liberal education. Of course they were Protestants, but, for Ireland, they were High Church, and, what mattered more, they were thoroughly broad-minded. If Master Fernando's High Churchness was of a different and much more Roman complexion than their own, they let him alone, almost without remark, and entirely without interference. And to tell the truth Fernando's ritualism might have given them some excuse for protest: he must have
been, in the deeply Protestant church of their parish, an uncomfortable pew-fellow; and if taste and tact apply in such circumstances he did fall short.
Sometimes they so far pandered to his proclivities as to undertake quite a railway journey of a Sunday, to accompany him to St. Bartholomew's in Dublin, or to Grangegorman in its suburbs-at that time esteemed the acme of High Churchness in those parts. St. Bartholomew's struck Fernando as painfully unequal to its reputation; Grangegorman was better, and there he heard the Rev. Basil Maturin preach, who was afterwards for so many years a famous preacher in the Catholic Church.
Once he was taken to tea, by his cousin, to the house of their uncle (then Lord Chancellor of Ireland) at Raheny, a house hired furnished by the Lord Chancellor from a Catholic landlord, and there he was permitted to look through the keyhole of the private chapel, which had been duly locked up by the proprietors before letting their house.
With breathless interest poor Fernando peeped in but it was an anti-climax, for there was nothing more Papal to be seen than two chairs with plump hassocks on the seats
of them. On another occasion he had better luck. After luncheon and tea at the charming country house of a charming Mrs. Cusack, he and his cousins were driven by her to call upon a Catholic neighbour, and the lady of the house-an elderly widow, with quiet, somewhat reserved manners-at Mrs. Cusack's request was induced to show the chapel. "Fernando," urged Mrs. Cusack, is more than half a Catholic already."
The old lady slightly shook her head, as if in this matter half a loaf wasn't bread at all. But she showed the chapel.
It was tiny, and its one small window (heavily barred) was almost hidden from outside view among ivy, and behind a close dark shrubbery.
"My dear," said the quiet hostess, whispering to Fernando, "it's a poor little room squeezed in a corner; not because we would grudge our biggest and best, but because it was chosen for the chapel in the persecuting times, and my husband's forefathers had to find a place whose existence wouldn't be suspected. See how little it is, and how low."
It was just a closet into which half a dozen people and a priest might squeeze; the altar,
in a low recess, was very small, but it was a touching place with its memories of hard and bad times when to hear Mass was a danger : and on the walls were hung simple little family relics sacred pictures that had hung over the beds of children who would have been over a century old were they on earth still a bit of a girl's first ball-gown, made by her into a fine Agnus Dei when she was going away to be a nun in Flanders; a cross or rosary blessed by the Pope and given to some child for his or her first Communion-eh dear! how those bits of things gripped Fernando about the
"Don't be half a Catholic, my dear," the old lady whispered into Fernando's ear, while she locked the door when they had all come out. "Half and half isn't one thing or the other."
It touched him to see her lock the door, and put away the key as if it were a custom inherited from the old cruel days when none in that house could talk openly of the Chapel, or go in and out of it as they listed.
It was dark in the shut carriage as they drove away from the house, and no one could see Fernando's face, but Mrs. Cusack felt, somehow, how he had been impressed, and