I continued in my reverie for some time, and pro-
bably should have continued longer, had I not been
suddenly aroused by the voice of !Mr. Platitude
raised to a very high key. " Yes, my dear sir,"
said he, " it is but too true ; I have it on good
authority â€” a gone church â€” a lost church â€” a ruined
church â€” a demolished church is the Church of
England. Toleration to Dissenters ! oh, mon-
strous ! "
*' I suppose," said my host, " that the repeal of
the Test Acts will be merely a precursor of the
emancipation of the Papists?"
'* Of the Catholics," said the Reverend Mr. Plati-
tude. " Ahem. There was a time, as I believe you
ai'e aware, my dear sir, when I was as much op-
posed to the emancipation of the Catholics as it
was possible for any one to be ; but I was preju-
diced, my dear sir, labouring under a cloud of most
unfortunate prejudice ; but I thank my Maker I am
Ch, XXXIX.] PARADOX. 357
SO no longer. I have travelled, as you are aware.
It is only by travelling that one can rub off pre-
judices; I think you will agree with me there. I
am speaking to a traveller. I left behind all my
prejudices in Italy. The Catholics are at least our
fellow- Christians. I thank Heaven that I am no
longer an enemy to Catholic emancipation."
'^ And yet you would not tolerate Dissenters?"
" Dissenters, my dear sir ; I hope you would not
class such a set as the Dissenters with Catholics?"
" Perhaps it would be unjust," said my host,
" though to which of the two parties is another
thing; but permit me to ask you a question:
Does it not smack somewhat of paradox to talk of
CathoHcs, whilst you admit there are Dissenters?
If there are Dissenters, how should there be
"It is not my fault that there are Dissenters,"
said the Keverend Mr. Platitude; ''if I had my
will I would neither admit there were any, nor per-
mit any to be."
" Of course you would admit there were such as
long as they existed; but how would you get rid of
358 SWORD OF ST. PETER. [Ch. XXXIX.
" I would have the Church exert its authority."
'^ What do you mean by exerting its authority?"
" I would not have the Church bear the sword in
*' What, the sword of St. Peter ? You remember
what the founder of the religion which you profess
said about the sword, ' He who striketh with it
I think those who have called them-
selves the Church have had enough of the sword.
Two can play with the sword, Mr. Platitude. The
Church of Rome tried the sword with the Lutherans :
how did it fare with the Church of Rome? The
Church of England tried the sword, Mr. Platitude,
with the Puritans : how did it fare with Laud and
" Oh, as for the Church of England," said Mr.
Platitude, ''I have httle to say. Thank God, I
left all my Church of England prejudices in Italy.
Had the Church of England known its true in-
terests, it would long ago have sought a reconcilia-
tion with its illustrious mother. If the Church of
England had not been in some degTce a schismatic
church, it would not have fared so ill at the time
of which you are speaking ; the rest of the Church
Ch. XXXIX.] ENEMY TO HUMBUG. 359
would have come to its assistance. The Irish would
have helped it, so would the French, so would the
Portuguese. Disunion has always been the bane
of the Church."
Once more I fell into a reverie. My mind now
reverted to the past; methought I was in a small
comfortable room wainscoted with oak ; I was
seated on one side of a fireplace, close by a table on
which were wine and fruit ; on the other side of the
fire sat a man in a plain suit of brown, with the
hair combed back from his somewhat high forehead ;
he had a pipe in his mouth, which for some time he
smoked gravely and placidly, without saying a word ;
at length, after drawing at the pipe for some time
rather vigorously, he removed it from his mouth,
and, emitting an accumulated cloud of smoke, he
exclaimed in a slow and measured tone, " As I was
telling you just now, my good chap, I have always
been an enemy to humbug."
When I awoke fr'om my reverie the Keverend
Mr. Platitude was quitting the apartment.
" Who is that person?" said I to my entertainer,
as the door closed behind him.
360 HIGH PRINCIPLES. [Ch. XXXIX.
*' Who is he ?" said my host ; " why, the Reverend
'* Does he reside in this neighbourhood?"
** He holds a living about three miles from here ;
his history, as far as I am acquainted with it, is as
follows. Hie father was a respectable tanner in the
neighbouring town, who, wishing to make his son a
gentleman, sent him to college. Having never
been at college myself, I cannot say whether he
took the wisest course ; I beheve it is more easy to
unmake than to make a gentleman ; I have known
many gentlemanly youths go to college, and return
anything but what they went. Young Mr. Plati-
tude did not go to college a gentleman, but neither
did he return one ; he went to college an ass, and
returned a prig; to his original folly was super-
added a vast quantity of conceit. He told liis
father that he had adopted high principles, and was
determined to discountenance everything low and
mean ; advised liim to eschew trade, and to pur-
chase him a hving. The old man retired from
business, purchased his son a living, and shortly
after died, leaving him what remained of his for-
Ch. XXXIX.] FALSE CONCORD. 361
tune. Tlie first tiling the Reverend Mr. Platitude
did, after his father's decease, was to send his
mother and sister into Wales to hve upon a small
annuity, assigning as a reason that he was averse to
anything low, and that they talked ungrammati-
cally. Wishing to shine in the pulpit, he now
preached high sermons, as he called them, inter-
spersed with scraps of learning. His sermons did
not, however, procure him much popularity; on the
contrary, his church soon hecame nearly deserted,
the greater part of his flock going over to certain
dissenting preachers, who had shortly before made
their appearance in the neighbourhood. Mr. Plati-
tude was filled with wrath, and abused Dissenters
in most unmeasured terms. Coming in contact
with some of the preachers at a public meeting, he
was rash enough to enter into argument with them.
Poor Platitude ! he had better have been quiet, he
appeared Hke a child, a very infant, in their gi'asp ;
he attempted to take shelter under his college learn-
ing, but found, to liis dismay, that his opponents
knew more Greek and Latin than himself. These
illiterate boors, as he had supposed them, caught
him at once in a false concord, and Mr. Platitude
VOL. II. R
362 THE DAMSEL. [Ch. XXXIX.
had to slink home overwhelmed with shame. To
avenge himself he applied to the ecclesiastical court,
but was told that the Dissenters could not be put
down by the present ecclesiastical law. He found
the Church of England, to use his own expression,
a poor, powerless, restricted Church. He now
thought to improve his consequence by marriage,
and made up to a rich and beautiful young lady in
the neighbourhood ; the damsel measured him from
head to foot with a pair of very sharp eyes, dropped
a curtsey, and refused him. Mr. Platitude, finding
England a very stupid place, determined to travel ;
he went to Italy ; how he passed his time there he
knows best, to other people it is a matter of little
importance. At the end of two years he returned
with a real or assumed contempt for everything
English, and especially for the Church to which he
belongs, and out of which he is supported. He
forthwith gave out that he had left behind him all
his Church of England prejudices, and, as a proof
thereof, spoke against sacerdotal wedlock and the
toleration of schismatics. In an evil hour for my-
self he was introduced to me by a clergyman of my
acquaintance, and from that time I have been pes-
Ch. XXXIX.] WHAT EELIGION? 3Go
tered, as I was this morning, at least once a week.
I seldom enter into any discussion with him, but
fix my eyes on the portrait over the mantel-piece,
and endeavour to conjure up some comic idea or
situation, whilst he goes on talking tomfoolery by
the hour about Church authority, schismatics, and
the unlawfulness of sacerdotal wedlock ; occasionally
he brings with him a strange kind of being, w^hose
acquaintance he says he made in Italy, I believe he
is some sharking priest who has come over to pro-
selytize and plunder. This being has some powers
of conversation and some learning, but carries the
countenance of an arch villain; Platitude is evi-
dently his tool."
" Of what religion are you?" said I to my host.
" That of the Yicar of Wakefield â€” good, quiet,
Church of England, which would hve and let
live, practises charity, and rails at no one ; where
the priest is the husband of one wife, takes care of
his family and his parish â€” such is the rehgion for
me, though I confess I have hitherto thought too
little of rehgious matters. When, however, I have
completed this plaguy w^ork on which I am en-
364 FARTHER CONVERSATION. [Ch. XXXIX.
gaged, I hope to be able to devote more attention
After some farther conversation, the subjects
being, if I reifnember right, college education, prig-
gism, church authority, tomfoolery, and the like, I
rose and said to my host, " I must now leave you."
"Whither are you going?"
" I do not know."
'' Stay here, then â€” you shall be welcome as many
days, months, and years as you please to stay."
*' Do you think I would hang upon another man?
No, not if he were Emperor of all the Chinas. I
will now make my preparations, and then bid you
I retired to my apartment and collected the
handful of things which I carried with me on my
" I will walk a Httle way with you," said my
friend on my return.
He walked with me to the park gate ; neither of
us said anything by the way. When we had come
upon the road, I said, '" Farewell now ; I will not
permit you to give yourself any farther trouble on
Ch. XXXIX.] THAT WOULD NEVER DO ! 365
my account. Eeceive my best thanks for your
kindness ; before we part, however, I should wish
to ask you a question. Do you think you shall
ever grow tired of authorship?"
" I have my fears/' said my friend, advancing
his hand to one of the iron bars of the gate.
" Don't touch," said I, '" it is a bad habit. I
have but one word to add : should you ever grow
tired of authorsliip follow your first idea of getting
into Parliament; you have words enough at com-
mand ; perhaps you want manner and method ; but,
in that case, you must apply to a teacher, you must
take lessons of a master of elocution."
" That would never do !" said my host; '" I know
myself too well to think of applying for assistance
to any one. Were I to become a parliamentary
orator, I should wish to be an original one, even if
not above mediocrity. What pleasure should I
take in any speech I might make, however original
as to thought, provided the gestures I employed
and the very modulation of my voice were not my
own ? Take lessons, indeed ! why the fellow who
taught me, the professor, might be standing in the
gallery whilst I spoke ; and, at the best parts of my
866 MAY YOU PROSPER. [Ch. XXXIX.
speech, might say to himself, ' That gesture is mine
â€” that modulation is mine.' I could not hear the
thought of such a thing."
" Farewell," said I, ^' and may you prosper. I
have nothing more to say."
I departed. At the distance of twenty yards I
turned round suddenly ; my friend was just with-
drawing his finger from the har of the gate.
" He has heen touching," said I, as I proceeded
on my way ; " I wonder what was the evil chance
he wished to haffle."
END OF VOL. II.
G. Woodfall and Son, Printers, Angel Court, Skinner Street, London,