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delicacy did not equal her energy in doing good,--for she did much good, but in truth it was difficult to be delicate when the hands were so full ... This mark of death was upon the woman, but the agony of want was past. She sat there listless, indifferent, hardly capable of suffering even for her chuid, waiting her doom. “I have come in out of the rain for shelter,' said Herbert, looking down on her. “Out o'the rain, is it?' said she, fixing on him her glassy bright eyes. “Yer honour's welcome, thin.' But she did not attempt to move, or show any
of those symptoms of reverence which are habitual to the Irish when those of a higher rank enter their cabins. “You seem to be very poorly off here,' said Herbert, looking round the bare walls. 'Have you no chair, and no bed to lie on?' “'Deed no,' said she. “And no fire ?' said he, for the damp and chill of the place struck through his bones. “'Deed no,' she said again, but she made no wail, uttered no complaint. “And do you live here by yourself, without furniture or utensils of any kind ?' 'It's jist as yer honour sees it,' answered she. He stood for a moment looking round him until he could see through the gloom that there was a bundle of straw lying in the dark corner beyond the hearth, and that the straw was huddled up. Seeing this, he left the bridle of his horse, and stepping across the cabin moved the straw with the handle of his whip. As he did so, a gleam of light fell upon the bundle at his feet, and he saw that the body of a child was lying there, stripped of every vestige of clothing. He knelt down, put his hand upon the body, and found that it was not yet stone cold. The child apparently had been about four years old, while that still living in the woman's arms might perhaps be half that age. “Was she your own?' asked Herbert, speaking hardly above his breath. “'Deed, yes !' said the woman. “She was my own, own little Kitty.' But there was no tear in her eye, or gurgling sob audible from her throat. . And when did she die ?' • 'Deed, then, an' I don't jist know-not exactly ;' and sinking lower down upon her baunches, she put up to her forehead the band with which she had supported herself on the floor, and pushing back with it the loose hairs from her face, tried to think. “She was alive in the night, wasn't she ?” he said. “I b'lieve, thin, she was, yer honour. 'Twas broad day, I'm thinking, when she guv over moaning. She wasn't that way whin he wint away.' “And who's he?' 'Jist Mike, thin.' Mike was her husband . . . . He had gone to his work, leaving his home without one morsel of food within it, and the wife of his bosom, the children of his love, without the hope of getting any. And then, looking closely round him, Herbert could see that a small bowl lay on the floor near her, capable of holding perhaps a pint, and on lifting it he saw that there still clung to it a few grains of some wheat, Indian corn flour--the yellow meal, as it is calleil. Her husbanıl, she said at last, had brought home in his cap a handful of this flour, stolen from the place where he was working-perhaps a quarter of a pound, then worth over a farthing,--and she had mixed this with water in a basin ; and this was the food which had, or rather had not, sustained her since yesterday morning-her and her two children, the one that was living, and the one that was dead ... 'And the child that you have in your arms,' he said, “is it not cold?' And he stood close over her, and touched the baby's body. As he did so, she made some motion as though to arrange the clothing closer round the chilil's limbs, but Herbert could see that she was making an etto
to hide her own nakedness. 'Is she not cold ?' he said again, when he had turned his face away to relieve her from her embarrassment. Cowld!' she muttered, with a vacant face and wondering tone of voice, as though she did not quite understand him. “I suppose she is cowld. Why wouldn't she be cowld ? We're cowld enough, if that's all.' But still she did not stir from the spot on which she sat, and the child, though it gave from time to time a low moan that was almost inaudible, lay still in her arms, with its big eyes staring into vacancy."
In the same book, we find some of the drollest and most appreciative bits of Mr. Trollope's trenchant humour, sly, quiet, and good-natured. “Castle Richmond” deals with the first days of the Anglican movement; and describes, with much pleasant quizzing, its contreconp in Ireland, and the fillip given by that new, alarming, and perfidious device of the enemy, called Puseyism, to the contempt and dislike with which Irish Catholics are regarded by Irish Protestants.
The mixture of theoretical bigotry and practical benevolence exhibited by Miss Letty Fitzgerald, is one of the pleasantest of his sketches; and he admirably exemplifies the bigotry, without the benevolence, in the coarse, vulgar wife of the rector of Drumbarrow. The excellence of this portion of the book is also, we think, hardly to be discerned by purely English readers of the higher classes, because there is nothing in their own social experience which resembles it; but it is fully appreciated by those who know that in Ireland the ordinary laws of charity, the commonest rules of politeness, are habitually disregarded by persons of birth and breeding, where the bigotry of Irish Protestantism is aroused. If a convert to the Catholic faith be so well known not to be a fool, that he or she cannot be treated as a fool with general approval, then people who would resent any other imputation on the moral character of their relative or friend, will cheer. fully make up their minds that he or she, being “much too clever to believe in Popery," is a pretender to that faith for some personal reason or interest. That he or she should be sufficiently wicked to lead a life of habitual sacrilege and hypocrisy, if the thing be true, and that, if it be not, there is any hardship in having it said of him or her by people who would really consider their lives and their spoons safe in the society of a convert, is odd and unreasonable; but it is one of the innumerable testimonies borne by our every-day life to the supernaturalness of the Church, and the Faith which is the gift of the Holy Spirit, not to be discerned in its simplest bearings by the heretical intellect. Mr. Trollope has portrayed these specialities of Irish character, life, and opinion in the upper classes with the same subtlety and humour which distinguish his studies of the peasantry and farmers.
The clerical series of Mr. Trollope's novels, beginning with “ The Warden,” and including “Barchester Towers, “ Framley Parsonage,” “ The Last Chronicle of Barsetshire,” and “The Vicar of Bullhampton," have an interest for Catholic readers, outside that general interest which they have excited. They give us something to wonder about and think of, apart from their admirably-drawn characters, the ritality of their details, and their enjoyable humour. A large component of that something is the general approbation with which these books have been received by English society, of which we may fairly suppose that the majority is composed of members of the Church of England. They contain a whole gallery of portraits of clergymen of that church, clergymen of every rank, and of every shade of difference of character, opinion, and demeanour. If the series of novels had been cunningly prepared by an enemy, as a device to illustrate the hopeless division, the untenable pretensions, the utter departure of Protestantism from the principle of unity, the abandonment of the supernatural in authority, and the spiritual in object, instead of having been written, in perfect good faith, by a respectable member of the Church of England, to amuse his readers by a pleasant representation of men and things as they are, it could not have been better adapted to its purpose. We have always regarded with astonishment the fact that Protestants adopt, with satisfaction, the definition of the Church of England as "a compromise,” because we cannot understand the mental attitude which contemplates the mystery of the Incarnation as having been conceived and executed, in order to establish that sort of expedient which is generally held to be an evidence of incompleteness and limited power. In its place and degree, it is as surprising to us to find that the Protestant public accept with alacrity and the fullest sanction, such readings of the commission and the mission of the clergy of their church as those supplied by their favourite authors, especially by Mr. Trollope. For, laying aside the question of vocation for a moment, and looking at the matter from their own point of view, where is the sacredness of the ministry to which he is called made evident in the life of any of these men, even in that of the best of them, Mr. Harding ? He is a good man, highly honourable, disinterested, charitable, with a fine taste for music, which he employs in conducting the church services beautifully; he is kind to the “ bedesmen,” whose spiritual pastor he is; he is, in fact, a gentle, mild old man, with a hobby, on which he has expended too VOL. XIX.- NO. XXXVIII. [New Serips.]
much money, and he meets trouble with patience. The trouble
, is not of a kind to call for much exhibition of the spirit of sanctity or martyrdom, it is true, but it is no less true that the Protestant public accept Mr. Harding as something like a saint and martyr, and that when Mr. Trollope (in “Barchester Towers”) makes him resign a valuable piece of preferment in favour of his daughter's husband, he goes up a step or two in the ranks of aspirant saints and martyrs. There is, of course, a point of view from which we expose ourselves to ridicule by criticising, in such a sense as this, imaginary persons in works of fiction; but in another, that of the peculiar claim of Mr. Trollope to be regarded as the painter of real life, the representative novelist of the day, such criticism is reasonable, and must, we think, suggest itself to all Catholics. Only that there is more littleness, more scheming, and that women play a larger part in the schemes, there is no difference between his treatment of the clerical and any other profession. Bishop Proudie amuses us very much, by his timidity, his time-serving, his pompous feebleness, his submission to his odious wife; the struggle between Mrs. Proudie and Mr. Slope, decided in the lady's favour by the Bishop's love of ease and eating, the intrigues of which the wretched little man is the centre, afford us high gratification by their acute humour ; but if we believed in Bishop Proudies episcopal functions, we should be angry with the artist, and ashamed of the picture. We can enjoy it all, because we know the sacerdotal office does not really exist in the Church of England, and therefore cannot be outraged or offended by any amount of satire or quizzing directed against the playing at bishops; but we cannot understand the applause of Pro. testants. To the decorous church-going middle and upper classes, in which Mr. Trollope's admirers abound, we should have supposed such pictures as those of the Palace at Barchester, Plumstead Episcopi, Framley Parsonage, with its sporting, bill-backing parson, who is plainly meant to be a very fine fellow, would be intensely distasteful-even painfulif they failed to suggest that the system, whose outcome they are, would hardly bear the application of the Apostolic tests.
Archdeacon Grantly is the most celebrated of Mr. Trollope's clerical portraits, and we do not think there is to be found, in all the literature of fiction, a character more admirably drawn, more consistently sustained, more completely real to the reader, than that of this man: not in any sense a hypocrite, not a bad man, not unprincipled; but essentially a man of the world, governed by interest, utterly self-reliant and full of intolerant self-esteem, steadily bent on the loaves and fishes,
and no more associating a spiritual, a supernatural idea with his business than if that business were brewing or banking. Mr. Trollope does not like him, nor does he put him forward as a person to be liked; but he makes him a thoroughly respectable representative clergyman; the discord is in the man's temper and character, not in the authoritative mission of such a man to souls. He is described by Mr. Trollope, when he concludes the story of “The Warden," as "a gentleman, a man of conscience, one who spends his money liberally, and improves the tone of society of those among whom he lives; who is sincere in matters of religion, and yet no Pharisee; on the whole a man doing more good than harm." And numbers of people who believe that the Church of England is a real Church, see nothing absurd or improper, apart from the Archdeacon's disagreeable temper—in such a character for one of its dignitaries. If we should take, one by one, the long list of clerical portraits which the author has painted, we might find, in every one of them, something to illustrate the surprise with which we regard their popularity from the Protestant point of view; but we cannot do so, and must pass on to consider, from our own point of view, Mr. Trollope's most remarkable achievement of this kind—that which he avows has cost him the greatest pains—the sketch, which we find in “Barchester Towers,” of the Reverend Francis Arabin, subsequently Dean of Barchester.
It is all admirably written, so true and forcible, that the man lives and moves before us; but we can only take it up at one particular point — the history of Mr. Arabin's religious vacillations, which affords a proof of the absence, on Mr. Trollope's part, of even a conception of the meaning of spirituality and the supernatural, and a very striking example of the perfect good faith and semblance of reasonableness with which clever persons in the state of invincible ignorance discuss the deep things of God, just as they discuss the shallow things of the world. We can hardly conceive anything more suggestive, in its way, to Catholic readers than the following passages :
Francis Arabin had been a religious lad before he left school ; that is, he had addicted himself to a party in religion, and having done so, had received that benefit which most men do who become partisans in such a cause.
We are much too apt to look at schism in our church as an unmitigated evil. Moderate schism, there may be such a thing, at any rate calls attention to the subject, draws in supporters who would otherwise have been inattentive to the matter, and teaches men to think upon religion. How great an amount of good of this description has followed that movement in the Church of England which commenced with the publication of "Froude’s Remains”!