Sunday morning, bright and hot, and every one down in
good time. After breakfast the household came, and we had prayers.
The Major read impressively part of the beautiful English service,
and we went to the fir brae while the horses were, got ready.
The drive down the glen was exceedingly pleasant. At
the inn door we caught John Eraser and his daughters just leaving
for church, so walked with them, discoursing of Johns flocks and
herds, and of our own doings. I rather think Fred told the little
demure daughter all about his fishing, although it was Sunday.
John said they expected a strange minister (any one
except the incumbent is so called by the parishioners) to preach,
and he could not vouch for the discoorse. However, we had an
excellent sermon in that small Highland kirkearnest, simple, and of
moderate length. I was pleased that our English friends escaped
hearing one of the elaborate discourses still too common in our
Church, and which seem composed with a purpose of raising doubts
among the elders, and setting the young to sleep; and, instead of
being bored with fifthly, I shall now proceed to prove, we had a
plain Christianlike sermon, to comfort the good, and make bad men
ashamed. All thought and said, Amen, with the worthy pastor; and, on
walking back, Ward remarked that the clean, homely aspect of the
mothers and children, the strong wiry men, and the venerable
patriarch in the pulpit, brought to his mind the old covenanting
It was such fine weather, that when we^came to the
inn, we agreed to walk home.. So the carriage was sent off and we
had lunch, and, after some chat with the kindly family, set off for
a quiet walk through the glen.
It was pleasant sauntering along in the still Sunday
afternoon, a quiet which seemed intensified by the soft piping of
the little hill birds and the murmur of the burn.
On arriving at the Lodge, we chose what books we
wanted from the Majors well-selected case, and sought some secluded
corner till dinner.
When dining, Ward disapproved of the crimped salmon,
which he thought corky; but he lives to be wiser and a prominent
hand at the process of crimping, when a good fish is caught and a
cold spring at hand.
On talking after dinner about different forms of
worship, Ward and I were mutually liberal; he saying, that such
service as we had to-day was good for any Christian, wise or simple;
while I owned that much of the English service might be with benefit
engrafted into ours.
I suppose, Major, I remarked, that in your travels
you attend any church, Greek or Scotch?
Freely, except the Roman Catholic.
Ho! ho! exclaimed Ward; you dislike the Papists.
By no means, Hope; but the system, as opposed to
freedom, civil and religious. I regard my Popish and Protestant
brethren alike, save Irish priests perhaps; for such men as Fendlon,
in past times, and poor fancy-tossed Newman, in our own, must have
the reverence of any one not a bigot.
Well, I confess myself a bigot, Ward said, and
anathematize the whole concern, lay and clerical, except the
Sisters: they are perfect. Still I would demur at wedding a Papist
girl, with the beauty of Venus and Ardenmohr for a dowery.
Ma foi! I think I should venture, under such
persuasions, and, mayhap, try conversion, I said.
Yes, and find yourself vainly attempting to make a
rigid Protestant out of a simple Papist, be spied in all your
doings,your wife, perhaps, the chief spy; or, if loyal to your
hearth, the victim of priestly pumping and family persecution. Shun ceite
galere altogether, my boy: to one like you, doubledealing would be
Really, Hope, I said, you must go to Ireland and
Not my metier at all; nobody likes friendly
discussion better, and I detest controversy, even if it did good,
which it never does. Time alone makes change where there is fixed
principle or prejudice; indeed, if conscience led Major Duncan and
you to shave your crowns, and shun salmon-fishing, I should hardly
dispute your notions.
So you have found, by experience, that the close
communication of Catholic and Protestant does not politically smooth
Nor ever will; it sharpens them. Pity Cromwell did
not complete his Irish schemes.
Then, Ward, said the Major laughingly, you hardly
expect much from the Irish Church doings ?
Nothing: a single thought might prove that. All
other religions are content to let alone, and be let aloneJews,
Greeks, or Protestants; but the whole policy of Popery is absolutismover
States and over individuals: the idea of satisfying this grasping
spirit of rule with scraps from the Protestant larder is beautifully
But what could the Legislature do, with Protestants
and Papists alike crying out injustice, and politicians gambling on
these alleged wrongs? They might have said: "Your religion is
atenmity with our whole policy, and yet we do
not persecute, we ignore, Popery. Protestants are the wealth,
strength, and enterprise of the country: which could do as well,
perhaps better, without you.
But in Ireland Papists are a majority, and dislike
Nor do Seven Dials and Clerkenwell like a Protestant
police, in these quiet and cleanly districts; but the police are for
the decent subjects thereabouts, and a Protestant Church was for the
like reason in Connemaraeh, Major?
Q. E. D.! By Jove, Ward, you are a marvel! By the
way, Hope, I said, what of Agnes? Have you heard of her
lately? She was rigid enough. Oh! yes, she is in a convent at
Bouen; the poor nuns will hardly find her to be a sister of mercy!"
Come, come, you two, the Major said; do be decently charitable
even to monks and acrid maids. Protestants are not always
I trow not, replied Ward. Even stupid Protestants
may show much cunning, and quite hold their own in the great
scramble for place and pence, which is pompously called the battle
I do declare, Ward, you are a perfect cynic this
quiet Sunday evening, and that grave Abbott ^aiding and abetting
you; it is not a pleasant feeling, surely.
Well, said Ward, I do allow that thought of
trickery or meanness does put my back up, be it policy or Popery :
and, my good fellow, you first put the truck on the rails.
Then I confess also, confiteor mea culpa; shall we
go to bed?
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