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WEST. How strange, Bishop, that we should never have met before! I arrived here in the very next boat after yours ; 1 our obols must have clinked together in the ferryman's pouch. Yet a decade has nearly passed, according to earthly reckoning, ere we have fallen in with each other. Surprising !

! WILB. Hardly so to me, my lord. I have sought-forgive me—the society of lawyers.

WEST. Nor I. I found them but depressing company on earth; and, though death could scarcely add to their dulness, it seemed paradoxical to suppose that it would enliven them.

WILB. As sarcastic as ever, I observe, my lord.

WEST. Say as outspoken, my dear Bishop, and add, as little malicious on that very account. Malice is a natural exudation in every mind, and it will remain there as a poison if it is not thrown off as an excretion. It is only

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the sarcastic, as they are called, who get rid of it by its proper eliminator—the tongue.

Will. The excretory function was admirably active, then, in your lordship's case; and your mental health, if that, indeed, will insure it, should have been excellent.

WEST. You are good enough to say so. But health is one thing and popularity another. It would have been far better for me, of course, to have only thought what are called ill-natured things of my neighbours than to have said them. Or, if some relief was necessary, I should have committed them only to the discreet guardianship of a diary. But then, to do that, one must be a man of discretion ; and that, my dear Bishop, is quality which, unlike yourself in both respects, I neither inherited nor bequeathed.

WILB. Your mind seems secreting very rapidly just now, my lord; and the activity with which you are throwing off its products is rather--well, it scarcely tends to enhance the long-deferred pleasure of this interview.

WEST. Indeed! I would not willingly do anything to diminish it. But our subject is, for me, perhaps, a somewhat too stimulating one. Shall we change it for something a little less personal to myself than the mental and moral characteristics of your lordship’s very humble servant ? Would you discuss with me the position and prospects of the Church of England ?

WILB. With you, my lord ? Impossible !

WEST. Why so ? We have more than once exchanged views upon that matter in the House of Lords.

WILB. Yes; as ships exchange broadsides. But I do not care to revive old quarrels in the Shades; and an amicable, inutually helpful discussion of such a subject with you, is, I repeat, impossible.

WEST. With me? The emphasis on that word is neither complimentary nor altogether -- but I refrain.

, It is not for me to instruct your lordship in the obligations of charity.

WILB. My dear Lord Westbury, it is not a question of charity. One may wish to discuss colours with a blind man, and may most sincerely lament the affliction that keeps our minds apart. But apart they must remain ; and not all the charity in the world would bring them together.

WEST. Your lordship’s metaphors are discouraging.
WILB. Literal language would, I fear, be more so.

WEST. Not necessarily. I can hardly account it a privilege to be compelled to fit the cap on for myself, especially when the hatter is present, and might relieve me of the task. I should have deemed it more truly polite of you to have said in plain terms that I am spiritually blind.

WILB. Well, suppose me to have said so. What then ?

WEST. Then I should only have replied that your lordship pays but an ill compliment to the constitution of a State Church in which for several years I filled a high judicial office.

WILB. That, alas! is true.

West. Alas ? Your interjections, Bishop, are as discouraging as your metaphors.

For which was your

alas ! intended ? For the affliction of the judge, or for his infliction on the Church? Or for your own indiscretion in speaking evil of dignities?

WILB. You have rebuked me for not dealing plainly with you, Lord Westbury. I trust I shall not now be blamed for the opposite fault. I yielded to no one in admiration for your consummate judicial powers, but I confess I shared the view taken by most good Churchmen of your position with respect to the Church. WEST. Which was

? WILB. Nay, you cannot be ignorant of it. Why this pressure upon me to speak plainly ?

WEST. Why this need of pressure after your promise of plain speech?

WILB. Well, then .... which was that your lordship's presence and influence on the Judicial Committee of Privy Council at a time of sore trial for the Church of England was a misfortune of the first magnitude.

WEST. Because of my “consummate judicial powers?

WILB. Because of your lordship's known laxity of moral principle and complete indifference, or rather utter insensibility, to religious ideas.

WEST. I hesitated just now to remind a bishop of his charity. I am even more loth to recall to him the name of another of the cardinal virtues—that of faith. You surely cannot think that Providence abandoned the cause of the Church to a perverse and ungodly judge ?

WILB. God forbid ; I have always believed it would have been impious to doubt—that you were an instrument in the Divine hand.

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WEST. I have always believed it myself.

WILB. I have never doubted that the judgments of the Judicial Committee, during your term of service on it, were overruled for good.

WEST. You mean in a theological sense. Technically, of course, they were final. But if our judgments were divinely protected from error, why object to me as a judge? Must I remind your lordship, not only of scriptural virtues, but of ecclesiastical formularies? The Twenty-sixth Article declares, if I recollect it rightly, that the efficacy of the sacraments is not diminished by the unworthiness of the minister, and surely what is true of an officiating priest in the discharge of his sacred duties must apply à fortiori to that (spiritually speaking) far lower minister—a lay Chancellor acting as an ecclesiastical appellate judge.

WILB. The comparison savours somewhat of profanity. But your lordship should have finished the Article: "Nevertheless it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church that inquiry be made of evil ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences: and finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.” You had forgotten the conclusion of the Article perhaps ? WEST. Ahem!.... No, Bishop, no. We lawyers are

! not in the habit of quoting a part of a passage without knowing the whole. But, I repeat, I fail to understand the

I ecclesiastical objection to Gallio, even from the ecclesiastic's own point of view. The ruling of the proconsul of Achaia has always seemed to me a very sound one, and his indifference to religion-if indeed that were predicated of him by

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