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out, she was right as to his becoming a priest, though at the time Fernando had no idea of it. It was not, however, he who went away from England, but herself. I suppose that, after all, she was not greatly surprised to hear that he was to become a Catholic; she had seen it coming for so many years.
Those summer weeks of holiday at Gracechurch were all coloured with a mist of farewell. Fernando had no illusions as to the effect his change of religion would produce, and it was well he had not. Gracechurch would never forgive his desertion of the Church of England for that of Rome; it would seem to Gracechurch as if he had deliberately given over being an Englishman and made himself into a foreigner.
As to the future, he had no idea what it would be for him, in what manner he would have to earn his living, or whither he would have to go. But one thing was certain-he would no longer be at Gracechurch. It was not a place where as a Catholic he could live and earn his bread. There was no church, no priest, no Mass within many miles; there were no Catholics.
Boyhood was gone; to all intents and purposes Gracechurch would soon be gone.
In the early days of October he went up to Oxford, and on the sixth was matriculated in the hall of Pembroke College; on the wall behind the Master of Pembroke there was hanging a portrait of Fernando's old "schoolfellow," the Great Lexicographer, for whom he had always a vehement hero-worship. He remembered very well how Dr. Johnson, High Tory Anglican as he was, had said:
"A man who is converted from Protestantism to Popery may be sincere; he parts with nothing; he is only super-adding to what he already had. But a convert from Popery to Protestantism gives up so much of what he has held as sacred as anything that he retains, there is so much laceration of mind in such a conversion that it can hardly be sincere and lasting."
When Fernando walked out of Pembroke Hall that October afternoon, with his copy of the Statutes under his arm, he was a Member of the University, and knew he must not dress in brown nor play marbles in “the High."
It was a great thing that, to be a member of the most illustrious University (as he at all events felt sure) in the world. And though he did not belong to any college, being an unattached student, that only made his
interest in all the colleges more general and personal. He lived in lodgings and he had already made his rooms very pretty and homelike with the old things from St. Wolstan's. And soon he had visitors in them.
On the first Sunday he had gone to Mass, and he had also called upon the Jesuit Rector explaining that he was not a Catholic, but would presently become one.
One of his first visitors was a gentleman who used to spend the autumn and winter at Oxford, where he had charming rooms full of interesting things at the bottom of "the High," opposite Magdalen School. This gentleman was a Master" and belonged to Brasenose College, but when he was not in Oxford he was in Rome, doing duty as a Chamberlain of Sword and Gown at the Vatican. With him came two undergraduates, recently received into the Catholic Church, one of whom has now for many years been an eloquent and distinguished Redemptorist. Another visitor was a young Irish undergraduate, very clever, and also very amusing; and he soon got into the habit of calling to take Fernando out for long walks ---very pleasant, enlivened with eager, inter
esting conversation. He belonged to Balliol, and was rather a pet of its illustrious Master, Jowett, from whom he brought a message to the effect that he would welcome Fernando as an undergraduate of his college.
Very soon Fernando had friends in nearly all the colleges, and the full fascination of Oxford life had hold of him. Of course it was quiet enough, for his friends belonged to none of the smart, fast, or even sporting sets. But Fernando's tastes were all quiet, and he had never before enjoyed himself half so well: if life could be all Oxford he would have desired nothing better. Of his solitary pleasures one was to go and saunter in Addison's Walk in the groves of Magdalen College; for Addison was another old Lichfield "schoolfellow," and the place itself was delightful. The trees had all their autumnal beauty, and the deer in their tiny park gave a suggestion of calm country remoteness and peace.
On weekdays he often heard Mass in the private chapel of his friend the Papal chamberlain, who constantly had priests to stay with him. It was an interesting spot-a Roman island in the midst of Oxford; for its owner's ecclesiastical tastes were all Roman and the
chapel was just like a bit of Rome. The walls were red, relieved only by a set of tiny Stations without pictures; there were no pews or benches; the altar was a rich and handsome Roman one, and under it was a Corpo santo; the bones of the martyr (brought from the catacombs) were enclosed in a waxen effigy, representing a youthful figure sleeping in pace. On ordinary days the glass in front of the figure was hidden by an antependium of richly carved and gilded open-work through which could be seen another silken or "lama " antependium of the rubrical colour of the feast. Behind the cross was a picture of the Madonna usually screened by a blind, and there was a special indulgence granted to all who should recite the Salve before it. The Papal chamberlain was far too Roman to have flowers on his altar, but between the candlesticks were splendid reliquaries containing very important relics.
On the floor beside the altar stood a large crystal coffer within which, on a crimson velvet cushion, lay one of Pius IX's red velvet shoes, a white skull-cap of his, and the quill with which he had signed the decree of Papal Infallibility.
There was a really magnificent and most