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fulness, and at the same time their rare sympathy and helpfulness towards the poor or the afflicted. I am certain that by the poor and troubled themselves the actual assistance, the material benefits, were not more appreciated than the odd, unusual light-heartedness and obvious pleasure with which they were rendered.
To Fernando himself, they of whom he speaks had been for years quite extraordinarily kind, and were so still; but I doubt if they ever understood him, and especially if they ever suspected what was the real hidden interest of his life. They knew him so well, and had known him so long, that they could hardly believe in any shyness towards them on his part. That merry circle was not a good place for shyness. Yet he was shy about the one subject that had always more or less absorbed him. These most dear and admired friends of his had a trenchant wit, and a rather unfettered power of ridicule, and he shrank timidly from exposing to it his own secret preoccupation. They assumed -or he thought they did-that the "ritualism" they perceived ever on the increase in him was a shallow, external foible, a smut on the nose of his common sense, and probably
a passing hobby which he would outgrow as he became more manly.
And as he imagined they thought so, he held a sensitive silence about the theme that was always more and more engrossing him ; while talkative enough about ten thousand other matters about which he was as ready to laugh and gibe as they were. And he was as eager for amusement and pleasure as any lad of his age, and seemed (and was) pretty frivolous. Such a boy, cramming all the fun he could into every day, was not likely to strike his intimates as being very seriously in earnest about the one shy, personal, most inward subject that really brooded ever in his mind. He knew that the extreme of High Churchism was regarded by them with an almost mocking coldness, perhaps as an idiosyncrasy bordering on bad taste; and he had an instinctive certainty that, though they considered ritualism as a kind of shoddy Romanism, they would like the real thingif ever it came to the real thing-much
Would it ever come to the "real thing"? That was a question that would from time to time ask itself, suddenly and uninvited. Fernando had learned to believe himself
already a Catholic; and he had in fact long believed everything that Catholics believe; but that eagerly learned lesson that he was a Catholic would not always remain fixed and comfortable in his conviction as a learned lesson should. There would come horrible, cold pangs of misgiving. And to be a Catholic, Fernando was quite resolvedit was a necessity of life.
Yet he shrank from the idea of change being necessary, and earnestly desired to be able to go on as he was, and believe himself a Catholic where he was. There are many to whom almost all change is welcome-change of place, of surroundings, of friends, of occupation; to them the lack of it seems dull stagnation; and perhaps this attitude of mind is most frequent in young people, to whom any change half promises adventure, as it no doubt is movement in some direction for better or for worse. To Fernando, however, the necessity of change was, and always remained, intensely repugnant; as a boy he had no spirit of adventure, and ever dreaded to fly even from certain evils to others he knew not of. To travel he would have liked, for that one kind of movement he had quite passionate desire; but it was only to see
strange places; to live in, he desired only the old places. The old friends, the old occupations, were so dear and familiar that he could not easily face the obligation of renouncing them. His notion of what would be the perfect lot in life was to be a man (to remain a boy being impossible) where he had been a child-manhood itself imperceptibly merged into middle age, and that into age—there in the dear simple home, in the quiet place where everything was loved and familiar, among the old friends whom every year made only more dear and more truly the larger part of himself.
Then there was another thing, a thing which perhaps those who have all their lives been Catholics can never understand. Having endowed the Church to which he belonged with all the attributes of Catholicity, he loved her with an affection that must be incomprehensible to those who have never thought of her as a part of the Catholic Church, but have simply recognised in her a rag torn away from the seamless robe of Christian Unity. To them the Church of Fernando's boyhood is but one of the alien, outside forces at war with Catholicism; and thus everyone who has left her for the
Catholic Church comes to regard her. But before the day of conversion arrives, each Anglican who has, perhaps for many years, believed himself a Catholic as sincerely as he is resolved to be nothing else, has a piteous agony of disillusionment to suffer. Is there any anguish more poignant than the slowgrowing, cruel suspicion, ripening to dry certainty, that love and loyalty have been given mistakenly? And as the love and loyalty of a son for his mother is of all the deepest, tenderest, and most reverent, so must the agony be worst when the doubt arises whether she whom he believes to be his mother is not his real and true mother at all, but a usurper of the sacred office, a false claimant of the venerated name. How reluctantly must such a doubt be admitted by anyone of loyal heart, how mean suspicion must for long appear to him. Only a bleak onslaught of evidence that enforces certainty can satisfy him that the fault is not in himself. Unless he be arrogant and self-satisfied, he must be prone to accuse his own unfaithfulness, and to condemn himself of ingratitude for maternal services rendered. And one who has striven to live, as it were, a Catholic life outside the Catholic Church, believing