And I heard a terrible plump and I said 'what can that be? Mark perceived that he had been too slow in working up to his crisis and desperately he sought for something to arrest the attention of his beloved audience. He eyed his mother, hoping against hope that she would pretend to accept his suggestion; but alas, she was severely unimaginative. You know perfectly that is only a feather which has worked its way out of your pillow.
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The monosyllable had served Mark well in its time; but even as he fell back upon this stale resource he knew it had failed at last. I really did bump it quite hard—I forgot to tell you that. I forgot to tell you because when it was you I was so excited that I forgot.
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Mother wants you to be a very good boy and turn over and go to sleep. Father is very worried and very tired, and the Bishop is coming tomorrow. I can't explain to you why he's coming, because you wouldn't understand; but we're all very anxious, and you must be good and brave and unselfish. Now kiss me and turn over. Mark flung his arms round his mother's neck, and thrilled by a sudden desire to sacrifice himself murmured that he would go to sleep in the dark.
At first Mark meditated upon bishops. The perversity of night thoughts would not allow him to meditate upon the pictures of some child-loving bishop like St. Nicolas, but must needs fix his contemplation upon a certain Bishop of Bingen who was eaten by rats. Mark could not remember why he was eaten by rats, but he could with dreadful distinctness remember that the prelate escaped to a castle on an island in the middle of the Rhine, and that the rats swam after him and swarmed in by every window until his castle was—ugh!
Suppose a lot of rats came swarming up Notting Hill and unanimously turned to the right into Notting Dale and ate him? An earthquake would be better than that. Mark began to feel thoroughly frightened again; he wondered if he dared call out to his mother and put forward the theory that there actually was a rat in his room. But he had promised her to be brave and unselfish, and. Mark thought of a beautiful evening in the country as beheld in a Summer Number, more of an afternoon really than an evening, with trees making shadows right across a golden field, and spotted cows in the foreground.
It was a blissful and completely soothing picture while it lasted; but it soon died away, and he was back in the midway of a London night with icy stretches of sheet to right and left of him instead of golden fields. Mark waited a full five seconds in the hope that he need not finish the hymn; but when he found that he was not asleep after five seconds he resumed:.
This was a most encouraging couplet. Mark did not suppose that in the event of a great emergency—he thanked Mrs.
Ewing for that long and descriptive word—the sufferers would be able to do much for him; but the consciousness that all round him in the great city they were lying awake at this moment was most helpful. At this point he once more waited five seconds for sleep to arrive. The next couplet was less encouraging, and he would have been glad to miss it out.
Yes, but prayers were not always answered immediately. For instance he was still awake. He hurried on to murmur aloud in fervour:. Mark murmured the last verse with special reverence in the hope that by doing so he should obtain a speedy granting of the various requests in the earlier part of the hymn. An extra Sunday on top of such a night would have been hard to bear. And when the Bishop comes to lunch I want you not to ask questions.
Will you promise me that? Mark registered this episcopal distaste in his memory beside other facts such as that cats object to having their tails pulled. In the year , when the strife of ecclesiastical parties was bitter and continuous, the Reverend James Lidderdale came as curate to the large parish of St.
Simon's, Notting Hill, which at that period was looked upon as one of the chief expositions of what Disraeli called "man-millinery. Simon's paid no attention to it, and were proud to consider themselves an outpost of the Catholic Movement in the Church of England.
James Lidderdale was given the charge of the Lima Street Mission, a tabernacle of corrugated iron dedicated to St. Wilfred; and Thurston, the Vicar of St. Simon's, who was a wise, generous and single-hearted priest, was quick to recognize that his missioner was capable of being left to convert the Notting Dale slum in his own way. Simon's is an outpost of the Movement, Lidderdale must be one of the vedettes," he used to declare with a grin.
The Missioner was a tall hatchet-faced hollow-eyed ascetic, harsh and bigoted in the company of his equals whether clerical or lay, but with his flock tender and comprehending and patient. The only indulgence he accorded to his senses was in the forms and ceremonies of his ritual, the vestments and furniture of his church. His vicar was able to give him a free hand in the obscure squalor of Lima Street; the ecclesiastical battles he himself had to fight with bishops who were pained or with retired military men who were disgusted by his own conduct of the services at St.
Simon's were not waged within the hearing of Lima Street. There, year in, year out for six years, James Lidderdale denied himself nothing in religion, in life everything. He used to preach in the parish church during the penitential seasons, and with such effect upon the pockets of his congregation that the Lima Street Mission was rich for a long while afterward. Yet few of the worshippers in the parish church visited the object of their charity, and those that did venture seldom came twice.
Lidderdale did not consider that it was part of the Lima Street religion to be polite to well-dressed explorers of the slum; in fact he rather encouraged Lima Street to suppose the contrary.
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Lima Street doesn't like them either. Lima Street is provoked to obscene comment, and that just before Mass. It's no good, Vicar. My people are savages, and I like them to remain savages so long as they go to their duties, which Almighty God be thanked they do.
On one occasion the Archdeacon, who had been paying an official visit to St. Simon's, expressed a desire to see the Lima Street Mission. The Vicar was doubtful of the impression that the Archdeacon's gaiters would make on Lima Street, and he was also doubtful of the impression that the images and prickets of St. Wilfred's would make on the Archdeacon. The Vicar need not have worried. Long before Lima Street was reached, indeed, halfway down Strugwell Terrace, which was the main road out of respectable Notting Hill into the Mission area, the comments upon the Archdeacon's appearance became so embarrassing that the dignitary looked at his watch and remarked that after all he feared he should not be able to spare the time that afternoon.
I had always understood that a great work of purification had been effected, that in fact—er—they were quite—er—cleaned up. One might be pardoned for supposing that they had never seen a clergyman before. Of course one is loath—very loath indeed—to criticize sincere effort of any kind, but I think that perhaps almost the chief value of the missions we have established in these poverty-stricken areas lies in their capacity for civilizing the poor people who inhabit them.
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One is so anxious to bring into their drab lives a little light, a little air. I am a great believer in education. Oh, yes, Mr. Thurston, I have great hopes of popular education. However, as I say, I should not dream of criticizing your work at St. It is the work of one of my curates. And," said the Vicar to Lidderdale, when he was giving him an account of the projected visitation, "I believe the pompous ass thought I was ashamed of it. Thurston died soon after this, and, his death occurring at a moment when party strife in the Church was fiercer than ever, it was considered expedient by the Lord Chancellor, in whose gift the living was, to appoint a more moderate man than the late vicar.
Majendie, the new man, when he was sure of his audience, claimed to be just as advanced as Thurston; but he was ambitious of preferment, or as he himself put it, he felt that, when a member of the Catholic party had with the exercise of prudence and tact an opportunity of enhancing the prestige of his party in a higher ecclesiastical sphere, he should be wrong to neglect it. Majendie's aim therefore was to avoid controversy with his ecclesiastical superiors, and at a time when, as he told Lidderdale, he was stepping back in order to jump farther, he was anxious that his missioner should step back with him.
Wilfred's actually into line with the parish church. But the Asperges, you know. I can't countenance that. And the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday. I really think that kind of thing creates unnecessary friction. Lidderdale's impulse was to resign at once, for he was a man who found restraint galling where so much passion went to his belief in the truth of his teaching. When, however, he pondered how little he had done and how much he had vowed to do, he gave way and agreed to step back with his vicar.
He was never convinced that he had taken the right course at this crisis, and he spent hours in praying for an answer by God to a question already answered by himself. The added strain of these hours of prayer, which were not robbed from his work in the Mission, but from the already short enough time he allowed himself for sleep, told upon his health, and he was ordered by the doctor to take a holiday to avoid a complete breakdown of health. He stayed for two months in Cornwall, and came back with a wife, the daughter of a Cornish parson called Trehawke.
Lidderdale had been a fierce upholder of celibacy, and the news of his marriage astonished all who knew him. Grace Lidderdale with her slanting sombre eyes and full upcurving lips made the pink and white Madonnas of the little mission church look insipid, and her husband was horrified when he found himself criticizing the images whose ability to lure the people of Lima Street to worship in the way he believed to be best for their souls he had never doubted.
Yet, for all her air of having trafficked for strange webs with Eastern merchants , Mrs. Lidderdale was only outwardly Phoenician or Iberian or whatever other dimly imagined race is chosen for the strange types that in Cornwall more than elsewhere so often occur. Actually she was a simple and devout soul, loving husband and child and the poor people with whom they lived. Doubtless she had looked more appropriate to her surroundings in the tangled garden of her father's vicarage than in the bleak Mission House of Lima Street; but inasmuch as she never thought about her appearance it would have been a waste of time for anybody to try to romanticize her.