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high tradition is a wonderful feat of influence.
The Head Master had to work against one very serious drawback to his position; he was not, as many of the masters had been, an old boy of any other school of the Corporation, but an outsider. And there was another difficulty he was not High Church; on the contrary he was what is called Broad, and to be Broad was held almost treason in the Corporation.
The Warden had nothing to do with the teaching of the school; he was a figure-head. And the figure-head of a ship is not greatly in the captain's way. But I suspect that the High Church Warden and the Broad Church Head Master of St. Wolstan's were terribly in each other's way.
As to the High Churchness of St. Wolstan's, Fernando found it almost an anti-climax. He had expected, and hoped for, a great deal more than he found. There were many services in chapel, but they were none of them very "advanced": and Fernando himself got into trouble more than once for practices that were held to be "Roman." Except for the Compline every evening all the services were thoroughly Anglican; and even in the
bidding prayer at Holy Communion no more direct prayer for the dead was included than whatever might be implied in praying for all benefactors of the Corporation, all who had done it good, and all who had done it harm. The celebrant did not use "vestments" but only a stole of the colour of the day, with a chalice-veil of the corresponding colour. During the actual Communion the choir sang the beautiful hymn
Draw nigh and take the body of the Lord,
The celebrant never stood at either end of the altar sideways to the people, but always in front of it, with his back to them. Forty years ago that was considered "High" implying a sacrificial attitude.
When Fernando arrived at St. Wolstan's the Wardem was not there, being in residence at Ethelminster, of which cathedral he was a Canon. Soon, however, he came, and his coming speedily brought trouble on Fernando's head. On the Monday after his arrival a message was brought to Fernando, in the Prefects' Room, that his presence was required by the Warden in his lodge.
"What have you been up to, young Burs
cough? " one of the Prefects wondered with cheerful unconcern. To be "wanted " by the Warden was a sign of something beyond the common.
Not without a sinking feeling, rather like that which one experiences when going down" in a swing, did Fernando make his way to the Warden's Lodge. He found the Warden writing in his study, a large, pleasant, and not unduly severe-looking room. The Warden he had seen already; in fact, his stall in chapel was immediately behind that dignitary's, and he knew that the Warden could look severe. He looked so
"Come in and shut the door," said the great man, going on with his writing for a few
I think he thoroughly understood the cowing effect of suspense, and knew quite well what he was about. To set a delinquent at his ease is no part of wisdom in him who intends to convey intimations of displeasure. And the Warden was displeased and meant to show it.
Presently he rose and stood upon the hearthrug, with his back to the empty fireplace-an
excellent thing to stand in front of when you desire to produce a cold impression. A good fire at your back has too friendly and comfortable a look, and it is apt to make intimate little cheerful cracklings. Over the austere stone chimney-piece was an Arundel Society print.
"I have had, unfortunately, to send for you," said the Warden. And to send for you in order to find fault."
"What on earth about?" said Fernando, but entirely to himself. To the Warden he ventured on saying nothing.
He was (and always was) painfully conscious of being very small, and the Warden was a big man, burly, and of an almost overbearing presence. His nose, indeed, was small, and not fine, as some small noses are; but it expressed determination, almost pugnacity. His eyes were bright, and acute, intelligent, and certainly masterful. On those whom he liked they could glance very pleasantly, but I am sure he did not like Fernando; and I doubt if he liked him the better for being known as a boy somewhat marked by the Head Master's favourable notice.
Unfortunately I must find fault," the
Warden went on: and he conveyed the impression that the misfortune was Fernando's, as was the fault.
"At Holy Communion yesterday," he continued, "I observed your behaviour; and there was an objectionable feature. I saw that in approaching and leaving, before your Communion and after it, you genuflected to the Sacred Species in the hands of the celebrant. It is the reverent custom of this place to bow, profoundly; not at Holy Communion only, but whenever the altar is passed. That is the usage of our Church. To genuflect is a Roman usage, and alien to our tradition. That is the objectionable feature of your behaviour; and it is highly objectionable. It must be absolutely discontinued."
"Very well, sir," and Fernando bowed (profoundly), though the Warden was not at the altar. Of course, he could not argue, and did not complain even in his own mind that he could not. Nevertheless, it seemed to him that if one should bow profoundly to an empty altar, on which there is only a cross; bow to it, as he had been told, because it is the King's empty throne (as in the House