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Head Master. "Best congratulations, you have floored your Examiners." He did not know that it meant more than that he had not been "ploughed," but that entirely relieved and satisfied him. Next morning's post brought a letter with particulars-he had · passed First Class, and he could hardly believe it.
It meant not only that he was entitled to a mastership; even a " would secure pass that; but that he would receive double the salary of a passman.
Many letters of congratulation came, and in January he went back to the school as a master, provided for, and fully earning his own living, and still he was not twenty. So that he felt very comfortable. And he was delighted to have been given a mastership there, at St. Wolstan's, instead of in one of the other schools of the Corporation.
He had been extremely happy at St. Wolstan's as a boy, and to be still there, instead of beginning again in a strange place, in the higher status of a master, altogether appealed to his tastes. All changes of place and companions were always hateful to him.
Certainly that return as a master seemed to hold out little promise of his ever tearing
himself up and moving away into a new and strange world altogether. It rather seemed as though now he must settle down into a fixture in the school, making there whatever career life might hold for him. And it was such a career as he would have chosen. In the country that he now greatly loved, in the house that he loved much more, among friends already dear, with work that he liked, the years would pass placidly by, and the one thing he abhorred, change and strangeness, would never come to trouble him.
To a lad with eager and stirring ambitions the life of an under-master might not seem very alluring. Such a one would only accept it, perhaps, as a stepping-stone where his foot would not linger. But to any boy it would not seem to be a bad beginning to be, before his twentieth birthday, a master in his own school, with his seat at the High Table on the dais, and a recognised position, of which the "cappings" in cloister and playgrounds were one of the outward expressions-to any lad, I say, it would appear a pleasant enough start in life.
To Fernando it was much more. Though he built castles in the air he had not much ambition, not because he was specially modest,
but because he was not enterprising, and because he fully recognised that without money, or the qualities that can compel success without it, no striking field of distinction lay open to him. He wanted, chiefly, to be happy, and the life that now lay before him promised the kind of happiness he desired.
I say that that return to St. Wolstan's as a master held out but a poor promise of Fernando's ever making such a change as would rob him of all his promise of life and leave him to begin again. Probably from the time he had been a child of nine or ten, there had never been a moment in which he was, humanly speaking, so little likely ever to become a Catholic. Everything conspired to make him want, more than ever, and he had always wanted, to believe he was a Catholic already. Two years and a half at St. Wolstan's had undoubtedly made him more Anglican.
BUT something happened to set aching once more the misgivings that had now for four years or more from time to time been gnawing at his vitals; for it was vital to Fernando that he should be able to believe himself a Catholic. In the Fellows' Library, to which he had access, Fernando came upon a book on Anglican Orders; and he read it greedily.
Oddly enough he had never realized till then that there was any question of their validity, or that the Catholic Church refused to recognize them. The mere discovery that it was so was very, very dismal. He had always supposed that the Orders of the Anglican clergy were admitted without question by the Catholic Church as it admitted those of the Greek, Russian, Coptic, and Oriental schismatic Churches. All those Churches had the Mass, and there was no question as to the fact
that they who communicated at those schismatic altars received the validly consecrated Eucharist. That the Latin Church held those dissident churches of the near and middle East to be schismatic Fernando knew, and he had supposed that it regarded the Anglican Church as being in the same boat; it was not Peter's ship, that boat, in the Latin idea, but it was duly manned by bishops, priests, deacons, etc. Now he found that there was a wide and lamentable divergence between the status of those schismatic Churches and that of his own, in the judgment of the Catholic Church. Evidently she did not regard the Anglican body as a Church at all, but only as a sect, without Orders, like the Kirk of Scotland, the German Lutherans, and the Swiss Calvinists.
This, I say, was a dismal discovery. Whatever the Anglican writer, whose book he had in his hands, might have to say against the Catholic view, it was a heavy blow to be made aware that such was the Catholic view. No doubt the Anglican defender of the Orders of his own Church would prove to have much to say probably he would establish his own case to his own satisfaction or the book would not have been published. But that would not