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so far afield as to cover with his prayer needs typified under names in a book.
I have mentioned thus at once this walking to Adam Bede's church, because such walks were Fernando's greatest pleasure all the time he was at his last school. Games he always detested, and the country all around was so beautiful that walks were inexhaustible. The village near the school was pretty, and it had a beautiful church, but of recent date, and even then Fernando never could care for new churches as he did for those that had been built in the good old days before the deplorable Reformation. To him the Reformation was always a thing deplorable to remember, to ignore as far as might be; the thousand years before it were England's good days. In no new church could he feel, however beautiful it might be, the same delight as came from one in which the Crusades might have been preached, where the old Mass had been said, and God's Mother had been given, without grudging or apology, her meed of love and praise. But only a mile or two off in an exquisite valley, or rather hung on a rock above the valley, was a Catholic church and convent, and thither Fernando often walked to make his
visit to the Blessed Sacrament. It was not ancient; did not date back to the " good days"; but it ignored the Reformation too, and seemed to proclaim the life and continuance of what the bad days had tried to kill and exile.
Only once did anyone there speak to Fernando on the same day an Irishwoman cleaning the church told him that he was no Catholic but would be one, and that the friend who had come with him never would; and the priest spoke to him, roughly enough, and almost made him resolve never to go thither again.
Fernando never saw the Irishwoman again, but no doubt she prayed for him, and helped to make one half of her prophecy come true. That priest, when he was one himself, Fernando knew and loved well, a man of infinite tenderness, and an exquisite preacher, but of that irritable temper that often goes with a warm heart and a quick brain. Something probably had ruffled him that day; perhaps it ruffled him (who had been an Anglican himself) to detect in Fernando the assumption of being already a Catholic; the boy" climbing up some other way" and fighting shy of the one open door, seemed to him a young
thief and a robber. It did clearly anger him that a lad from the Protestant college should think he had the right to come and " make visits" in his church, as though he were a Catholic.
In those later days when Fernando was his friend the priest utterly refused to be penitent for his roughness. Of course, he maintained, Fernando had been a bumptious young Anglican, pseudo-Catholic; and to "sit upon " such was a duty. In this case the process had obviously produced the wholesomest results.
Only once did Fernando attend any service at that Catholic church, and that was full two years after, and when he had himself become a junior master at St. Wolstan's. As a boy he could not be absent from the college chapel at any hour of public service.
So that perhaps it is an inversion of order to mention it yet. Still, having begun, I will go on. It was in the summer of 1878, just before the holidays, after which Fernando went up and matriculated at Oxford. A summer's evening and a Sunday, and the service was Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; at which the lad (he was twenty then) had never before been present. First
came English devotions, for which he did not care much; and the plain truth is, I must even now declare, that our English devotions are seldom very impressive; nor am I convinced that our people greatly desire them. English people certainly do like singing hymns, and sometimes the hymns are worth singing, but not quite always. Occasionally the words are as meagre as the music.
At this church, as in many others, there was the queer custom of singing the hymns sitting down, a posture incompatible with good singing.
Then came a sermon of which Fernando ought to remember every word, and does remember nothing whatever. Finally there was Benediction. That was coming into an inheritance.
Someone gave the stranger a book, and he followed-and sang too; which, I doubt, he had no business to do. Cardinal Manning not half a year later said he had none.
You," he said, “ you urchin, sang Our Lady's Litany when you were a Protestant and meant to remain one." (Did he, though?)
"I never said my first Hail Mary in church until I had resigned the Archdeaconry of Chichester" (poor Fernando wasn't an Arch
deacon), "then I went over the bridge to St. George's and knelt down in the Lady Chapel and knew I had a right to say it."
The cardinal wasn't quite right, however; when Fernando went to Benediction, he had made up "what the poverty of the English language obliges one to call "his mind," that he would be received into the Catholic Church; and he was not an Anglican Divine.
But of Anglican Divines he did not think it necessary to speak, on the occasion alluded to, when driving with His Eminence the former Archdeacon of Chichester.
The fact that Fernando did not go to Benediction till he meant to give over being an Anglican makes it premature to speak of that Sunday evening yet.