Chapter 2.

{348} THE reader may ask whither Charles is going, and, though it would not be quite true, to answer that he did not know better than the said reader himself, yet he had most certainly very indistinct notions what was becoming of him even locally, and, like the Patriarch, "went out, not knowing whither he went". He had never seen a Catholic priest, to know him, in his life; never, except once as a boy, been inside a Catholic church; he only knew one Catholic in the world, and where he was he did not know. But he knew that the Passionists had a Convent in London; and it was not unnatural that, without knowing whether young Father Aloysius was there or not, he should direct his course to San Michaele.

Yet, in kindness to Mary and all of them, he did not profess to be leaving direct for London; but he proposed to betake himself to Carlton, who still resided in Oxford, and to ask his advice what was to be done under his circumstances. It seemed, too, to be interposing what they would consider a last chance of averting what to them was so dismal a calamity.

To Oxford, then, he directed his course; and, having {349} some accidental business at Bath, he stopped there for the night, intending to continue his journey next morning. Among other jobs, he had to get a "Garden of the Soul," and two or three similar books which might help him in the great preparation which awaited his arrival in London. He went into a religious publisher's in Danvers Street with that object, and while engaged in a back part of the shop in looking over a pile of Catholic works, which, to the religious public, had inferior attractions to the glittering volumes, Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic, which had possession of the windows and principal table, he heard the shop-door open, and, on looking round, saw a familiar face. It was that of a young clergyman, with a very pretty girl on his arm, whom her dress pronounced to be a bride. Love was in their eyes, joy in their voice, and affluence in their gait and bearing. Charles had a faintish feeling come over him; somewhat such as might beset a man on hearing a call for pork-chops when he was sea-sick. He retreated behind a pile of ledgers and other stationery, but they could not save him from the low, dulcet tones which from time to time passed from one to the other.

"Have you got some of the last Oxford reprints of standard works?" said the bridegroom to the shopman.

"Yes, sir; but which set did you mean? 'Selections from Old Divines,' or, 'New Catholic Adaptations'?"

"Oh, not the Adaptations," answered he, "they are extremely dangerous; I mean real Church-of-England divinity—Bull, Patrick, Hooker, and the rest of them." {350}

The shopman went to look them out.

"I think it was those Adaptations, dearest," said the lady, "that the Bishop warned us against."

"Not the Bishop, Louisa; it was his daughter."

"Oh, Miss Primrose, so it was," said she; "and there was one book she recommended; what was it?"

"Not a book, it was a speech," said White; "Mr. O'Ballaway's at Exeter Hall; but I think we should not quite like it."

"No, no, Henry, it was a book, dear; I can't recall the name."

"You mean Dr. Crow's 'New Refutation of Popery,' perhaps; but the Bishop recommended that."

The shopman returned. "Oh, what a sweet face!" she said, looking at the frontispiece of a little book she got hold of; "do look, Henry; whom does it put you in mind of?"

"Why it's meant for St. John the Baptist," said Henry.

"It's so like little Angelina Primrose," said she, "the hair is just hers. I wonder it doesn't strike you.'

"It does—it does," said he, smiling at her; "but it's getting late; you must not be out much longer in the sharp air, and you have nothing for your throat. I have chosen my books while you have been gazing on that little St. John."

"I can't think who it is so like," continued she; "oh, I know; it's Angelina's aunt, Lady Constance."

"Come, Louisa, the horses too will suffer; we must return to our friends." {351}

"Oh, there's one book, I can't recollect it; tell me what it is, Henry. I shall be so sorry not to have got it."

"Was it the new work on Gregorian Chants?" asked he.

"Ah, it's true, I want it for the school-children, but it's not that."

"Is it 'The Catholic Parsonage'?" he asked again; "or, 'Lays of the Apostles'? or, 'The English Church older than the Roman'? or, 'Anglicanism of the Early Martyrs'? or, 'Confessions of a Pervert'? or, 'Eustace Beville'? or, 'Modified Celibacy'?"

"No, no, no," said Louisa; "dear me, it is so stupid."

"Well, now really, Louisa," he insisted, "you must come another time; it won't do, dearest; it won't do."

"Oh, I recollect," she said, "I recollect—'Abbeys and Abbots'; I want to get some hints for improving the rectory windows when we get home; and our church wants, you know, a porch for the poor people. The book is full of designs."

The book was found and added to the rest, which had been already taken to the carriage. "Now, Louisa," said White. "Well, dearest, there's one more place we must call at," she made answer; "tell John to drive to Sharp's; we can go round by the nursery—it's only a few steps out of the way—I want to say a word to the man there about our greenhouse; there is no good gardener in our own neighbourhood."

"What is the good, Louisa, now?" said her husband; "we shan't be at home this month to come;" {352} and then, with due resignation, he directed the coachman to the nurseryman's whom Louisa named, as he put her into the carriage, and then followed her.

Charles breathed freely as they went out; a severe text of Scripture rose on his mind, but he repressed the uncharitable feeling and turned himself to the anxious duties which lay before him.

Chapter 3-3

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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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