It was art which was the special attraction to Coley of all the many spells of old Rome. He spent much time in the galleries, and studied 'modern painters' with an earnestness that makes Ruskinism pervade his letters.
At Florence, Coley wrote as usual at much length of the galleries, where the Madonna del Cardellino seems to have been what delighted him most. He did not greatly enter into Michel Angelo's works, and perhaps hardly did their religious spirit full justice under the somewhat exclusive influence of Fra Angelico and Francia, with the Euskinese interpretation. The delight was indescribable. He says:— 'But I have written again and again on this favourite theme, and I forget that it is difficult for you to understand what I write, or the great change that has taken place in me, without seeing the original works. No one can see them and be unchanged. I never had such enjoyment.' His birthday presents were spent on a copy of the beloved Madonna del Cardellino, of which he says:—'though it does not reach anything like the intensity of feeling of the original, is still a very excellent painting, and will always help to excite in my imagination, and I hope to convey to you, some faint image of the exceeding beauty of this most beautiful of all paintings.'
Readers chiefly interested in the subsequent career of the missionary would feel interrupted by the overflowing notes on painting, sculpture and architecture which fill the correspondence, yet without them, it is scarcely possible to realise the young man's intense enthusiasm for the Beautiful, especially for spiritual beauty, and thus how great was the sacrifice of going to regions where all these delights were unknown and unattainable. He went on to Venice, where he met a letter which gave a new course to his thoughts, for it informed him that the deafness, which had long been growing on his father had now become an obstacle to the performance of his duties as a Judge, and announcing his intention of retiring.
In the fulness of his heart he wrote:—
'Venice, Hotel de la Villa: May 2, 1851.
'My dearest Father,—I have not been in Venice an hour yet, but little did I expect to find such news waiting for me as is contained in Jem's letter, and I can lose no time in answering it. It is indeed a heavy trial for you, that, in addition to many years of constant annoyance from your deafness, you should be obliged now, in the full vigour of your mind, and with the advantage of your experience, to give up a profession you so thoroughly delight in. I don't deny that I have often contemplated the possibility of such a thing; and I had some conversation with Uncle John last winter in consequence of my fancying your deafness was on the increase, though the girls did not perceive it; I hope with all my heart I was wrong. I told him what I know you feel, that, painful as it will be to you to retire from the Bench, if any dissatisfaction was expressed at your not hearing sufficiently what passed, you would choose rather to give up your seat than to go on under such circumstances. His answer, I remember, was that it was most difficult to know what to do, because it was no use concealing the fact that your infirmity did interfere with the working of the Court more or less, on Circuit especially, and at other times when witnesses were examined, but that your knowledge of law was so invaluable that it was difficult to see how this latter advantage could fail to outweigh the former defect; and everybody knew that they can't find a lawyer to fill your place, though another man might do the ordinary circuit work with greater comfort to the Bar; though therefore nobody is so painstaking and so little liable to make mistakes, yet to people in general and in the whole, another man would seem to do the work nearly as well, and would do his work, as far as his knowledge and conscientiousness went, with more ease;—this was something like the substance of what passed then, and you may suppose that since that time I have thought more about the possibility of your retirement; but as I know how very much you will feel giving up an occupation in which you take a regular pride, I do feel very sorry, and wish I was at home to do anything that could be done now. I know well enough that you are the last man in the world to make a display of your feelings, and that you look upon this as a trial, and bear it as one, just as you have with such great patience and submission (and dear Joan too,) always quietly borne your deafness; but I am sure you must, and do feel this very much, and, added to Granny's illness, you must be a sad party at home. I feel as if it were very selfish to be in this beautiful city, and to have been spending so much money at Florence. Neither did Joan, in her last letter, nor has Jem now, mentioned whether you received two letters from Florence, the first of which gave some description of my vetturino journey from Rome to Florence. I little thought when I was enjoying myself so very much there, that all this was passing at home.... Your influence in the Privy Council (where I conclude they will offer you a seat) might be so good on very important questions, and it would be an occupation for you; and I have always hoped that, if it should please God you should retire while still in the prime of life for work, you would publish some great legal book, which should for ever be a record of your knowledge on these subjects. However it may be, the retrospect of upwards of twenty years spent on the Bench with the complete respect and admiration of all your friends, is no slight thing to fall back upon: and I trust that this fresh trial will turn to your good, and even happiness here, as we may trust with safety it will hereafter.
'Ever your very affectionate and dutiful Son,
'JOHN COLERIDGE PATTESON.'
In this winter of 1852, Mr. Justice Patteson's final decision to retire was made and acted upon. The Judge delighted in no occupation so much as the pursuit of law, and therefore distrusted his own opinion as to the moment when his infirmity should absolutely unfit him for sitting in Court. He had begged a friend to tell him the moment that the impediment became serious; and this, with some hesitation, was done. The intimation was thankfully received, and, after due consideration, carried out.
On January 29, 1852, after twenty-two years on the Bench, and at the age of sixty-two, Mr. Justice Patteson wrote his letter of resignation to Lord Truro, then Lord Chancellor, petitioning for the usual pension. It was replied to in terms of warm and sincere regret; and on the 2nd of February, Sir John Patteson was nominated to the Privy Council, as a member of the Judicial Committee; where the business was chiefly conducted in writing, and he could act with comparatively little obstacle from his deafness.
On February 10, 1852, he took his leave of the Bar. The Court of Queen's Bench was crowded with barristers, who rose while the Attorney-General, Sir Alexander Cockburn, made an address expressive of the universal heartfelt feeling of respect and admiration with which the retiring Judge was regarded.
John Patteson's reply, read with a voice broken by emotion, is so touching in its manly simplicity and humility that a paragraph or two may well be quoted:—
'Mine,' he said, 'is one of the many instances which I know that a public man without pre-eminent abilities, if he will but exert such as it has pleased God to bestow on him honestly and industriously, and without ostentation, is sure to receive public approbation fully commensurate with, and generally much beyond, his real merits; and I thank God if I shall be found not to have fallen entirely short in the use of those talents which He has entrusted to me.' Then, after some words on the misfortune that necessitated his withdrawal, he continued, 'I am aware that on some, and I fear too many, occasions I have given way to complaints and impatient expressions towards the Bar and the witnesses in Court, as if they were to blame when, in truth, it was my own deficiency; and heartily sorry have I been and am for such want of control over myself. I have striven against its recurrence earnestly, though not always successfully. My brethren on the Bench, and you, and the public, have been very kind and indulgent to me; the recollection of which will remain with, and be a great solace to me for the rest of my life.
'And now, gentlemen, I bid you farewell most affectionately. I wish you many years of health and happiness, of success and honour in your liberal profession; the duties of which have been and are and I trust ever will be performed, not only with the greatest zeal, learning, and ability, but with the highest honour and integrity, and a deep sense of responsibility to God and to man, and which being so performed, are, in my humble judgment, eminently conducive, under the blessing of God, to maintain the just prerogative of the Crown, and the true right, liberties, and happiness of the people.'
He then rose from the Judges' seat, and bowed his farewell to the assembly, who stood respectful and silent, except for some suppressed tokens of emotion, for in truth to many the parting was from an old familiar and much trusted friend.
Private letters poured in, expressive of deep regret, esteem, and affection, and not only were gratefully read at the time, but became to the family valuable memorials of the heartfelt appreciation gained by a high-minded and upright course of life, and evidences that their father had done that which is perhaps the best thing that it is permitted to man to do here below, namely, 'served God in his generation.'
FELLOWSHIP OF MERTON. 1852—1854.
In the summer of 1852 Coleridge Patteson stood for a fellowship of Merton, obtained it, and moved into rooms there. Every college has a distinctive character; and Merton, if not actually the eldest, is at least one of the oldest foundations at Oxford, and is one of the most unchanged in outward aspect. There is a peculiar charm in the beauty and seclusion of the quadrangle, in the library, still mediaeval even to the fittings; and the church is above all impressive in the extraordinary loveliness of the early decorated architecture, and the space and loftiness of the choir. The whole, pre-eminently among the colleges, gives the sense of having been unaltered for five hundred years, yet still full of life and vigour.
Coley attached himself to Merton, though he never looked to permanent residence there. The Curacy in the immediate neighbourhood of his home was awaiting him, as soon as he should be ordained; but though his purpose was unchanged and he was of full age for Holy Orders, he wished for another year of preparation, so as to be able to study both Hebrew and theology more thoroughly than would be possible when pastoral labour should have begun. What he had already seen of Dresden convinced him that he could there learn Hebrew more thoroughly and more cheaply than at home, and to this he intended to devote the Long Vacation of 1852, without returning to Feniton. There the family were settling themselves, having given up the house in Bedford Square, since James Patteson had chambers in King's Bench Walk, where the ex-Judge could be with him when needed in London. There had some notion of the whole family profiting by Sir John's emancipation to take a journey on the Continent, and the failure of the scheme elicited the following letter:—
'Merton: June 18.
'My dearest Fan,—I can, to a certain extent, sympathise with you thoroughly upon this occasion; the mere disappointment at not seeing so many interesting places and things is a sharp one, but in your instance this is much increased by the real benefit you hoped to derive from a warmer climate; and no wonder that the disappearance of your hopes coupled with bodily illness makes you low and uncomfortable. The weather too is trying to mind and body, and though you try as usual to shake off the sense of depression which affects you, your letter is certainly sad, and written like the letter of one in weak health. Well, we shall see each other, please GOD, at Christmas now. That is better than passing nearly or quite a year away from each other; and some other time I hope you will be able to go to Italy, and enjoy all the wonders there, though a tour for health's sake cannot be too soon. It is never too soon to get rid of an ailment....
'I find that I am getting to know the undergraduates here, which is what I wanted to do; it is my only chance of being of any use. True, that I have to do it at the expense of two half-days' cricketing, which I have quite ceased to care about, but I know that when I went up to Balliol, I was glad when a Fellow played with us. It was a guarantee for orderly conduct, and as I say, it gives me an opportunity of knowing men. I hope to leave London for Dresden on Monday week; Arthur is gone thither, as I find out from Jem, and I hope the scheme will answer. If I find I can't work, from my eyes, or anything else, preventing me, I shall come home, but I have no reason to expect any such thing. My best love to Joan and all friends.
'Your loving Brother,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
The 'Arthur' here mentioned was the youngest son of Mr. Frank Coleridge, and became Coley's companion at Dresden, where he was studying German. He writes:—
'Patteson spoke German fluently, and wrote German correctly. He had studied the language assiduously for about two years previously, and so successfully that whilst we were at Dresden, he was enabled to dispense with a teacher and make his assistance little more than nominal. Occasionally he wrote a German exercise, but rather as an amusement than a discipline, and merely with the view of enlarging his German vocabulary. I remember his writing an elaborate description of Feniton Court, and imagining the place to be surrounded with trees belonging to all sorts of climates. The result was very amusing to ourselves, and added to the writer's stock of words on particular subjects. When our master Schier appeared, the conversation was led by a palpable ambuscade to the topic which had been made the subject of Patteson's exercise, and conversation helped to strengthen memory. After looking over a few of Patteson's German exercises, Mr. Schier found so little to correct, in the way of grammatical errors, that these studies were almost relinquished, and gave way to Arabic and Hebrew. Before we left Dresden, Patteson had read large portions of the Koran; and, with the aid of Hurwitz's Grammar and Bernhard's Guide to Hebrew Students, books familiar to Cambridge men, he was soon able to read the Psalms in the original. I remember the admiration and despair I felt in witnessing Patteson's progress, and the wonder expressed by his teacher in his pupil's gift of rapid acquirement. We had some excellent introductions; amongst others, to Dr. ——, a famous theologian, with whom Patteson was fond of discussing the system and organisation of the Church in Saxony. Up to the time of his leaving England he was constantly using Olshausen's Commentary on the New Testament, a book he was as thoroughly versed in as Archbishop Trench himself. I think that he consulted no other books in his study of the Gospels, but Olshausen and Bengel's Gnomon.
'In our pleasures at Dresden there was a mixture of the utile with the dulce. Our constant visits to the theatre were strong incentives to a preparatory study of the plays of Goethe, Schiller, and Lessing. What noble acting we saw in that Dresden theatre!
'With regard to the opera, I have never seen Weber or Meyerbeer's works given so perfectly and conscientiously as at Dresden. Patteson's chief delight was the Midsummer Night's Dream, with Mendelssohn's music. He had a tuneful baritone voice and a correct ear for music. We hired a piano for our sitting-room; and, though I failed to induce him to cultivate his voice, and join me in taking lessons, he sang some of Mendelssohn's Lieder very pleasingly, and knew most of the bass music from the Messiah by heart. He began to play a few scales on the piano, and hoped to surprise his sisters on his return to England by playing chants, but the Arabic and Hebrew studies proved too absorbing; he grudged the time, and thought the result disproportioned to the sacrifice.
'In our daily walks we talked constantly of Church matters. Some sharp and sad experiences in the loss of more than one of his Eton and Oxford friends, who had abandoned the Church of England, failed to shake his confidence in the Church he was to serve so faithfully and to die for so gloriously. His faith and daily practice seem to me a protest and warning against the folly, if not the falsehood, of extremes. Moderation, quiet consistency of life, and unswerving loyalty to a faith which had been the joy and comfort of his dear mother, whose loveable nature he inherited and reflected, a blameless life and unfailing charity enabled him when the time came to live a life of incessant toil, and face a martyr's death. I remember the present Bishop of Carlisle inciting Cambridge undergraduates to become, by virtue of earnestness, gentleness, and toleration, "guides not judges, lights not firebrands." He drew a perfect description of Patteson, who came more completely up to that ideal than anyone I ever knew. Here was a man capable of the purest and most tender friendship, with an exquisite appreciation of all that is noblest in life, and he was ready to give up all, and content to lead the forlorn hope of Christianity, and perish in the front ranks of the noble army. "And having been a little tried he shall be greatly rewarded, for God proved him, and found him worthy for Himself." '
I have given this letter almost entire, because it shows the impression Coley made on one, little his junior, in the intimate associations of cousin, neighbour, and schoolfellow, as well as travelling companion.
This year seems to have been a marked stage of development. He was now twenty-five, and the boyish distaste for mental exertion which had so long rendered study an effort of duty had passed into full scholarly enjoyment. The individuality and originality of his mind had begun to awaken, and influenced probably by the German atmosphere of thought in which he was working, were giving him that strong metaphysical bent which characterised his tone through life, and became apparent in his sermons when he addressed an educated audience.
Here is a letter to his eldest sister: 'The weather has been better suited for work, and I feel pretty well satisfied with my Hebrew. What makes it so difficult is principally this, that as it is an Oriental language, it is entirely different in structure, and in its inflections, &c., from any language I ever came across. I can't fall back upon anything already learnt to help me; but I see my way pretty clear now, and shall soon have little more than a knowledge of the meaning of the words to learn, which is only a matter of patience, and can be learnt with a good dictionary and practice. A real complete knowledge of the grammar is of course the great thing.
'The great Dresden fair, called the Vogelschiesser, is going on; it began last Sunday and ends next Sunday. About half a mile from the town there is a very large meadow by the river, where a small town of booths, tents, &c., is erected, and where shooting at targets with wooden darts, sham railway-trains and riding-horses, confectionery of every kind, beer of every name, strength, and colour, pipes, cigars, toys, gambling, organ-grinding, fiddling, dancing, &c., goes on incessantly. The great attraction, however, is the shooting at the bird, which occupies the attention of every Saxon, and is looked upon as the consummation of human invention and physical science. A great pole, nearly 80 feet high, is erected with a wooden bird, about the size of a turkey, at the top; to hit this with a crossbow from a regular stand, about 50 feet from the foot of the pole, is the highest ambition of this great people. The accompaniments are rich in the extreme: cannon firing, drums rolling, for a successful shot, the shooting society, who exist only for the sole honour and glory of hacking this bird to pieces, the presence of the King, I think to- day, and the intense interest taken in the amusement by the whole population; certainly the Germans are satisfied with less than any people I ever saw (barring two things, smoke and beer, in which they are insatiable). I went out to see it all, but it rather bored me after an hour or so. Tom F—— and I threw some dice for a pair of braces for Arthur, which we presented in due form; and we had some shots at the targets—mine were eminently unsuccessful.
'Last night we had a great treat. Emil Devrient, who has been acting in London, you know, came back, and acted Marquis Posa in "Don Carlos." The play acts very much better than it reads. Schiller certainly has great dramatic genius; only I agree with Goethe that there is always a longing for exhibiting cruelty in its most monstrous form, and refinement of cruelty and depravity overstepping almost the natural conditions of humanity. I always thought Iago about the most awful character in Shakspeare; but Schiller's Philip II. is something beyond even this, without perhaps so much necessity for the exhibition of this absolute delight in evil. It is long since I have been so excited in a theatre. I was three rows from the stage, heard and understood everything, and was so completely carried away by the grandeur and intense feeling of Devrient (who was well supported by the Don Carlos), that I had some difficulty to keep quiet, and feel to-day rather odd, shaken, as it were, from such a strain upon the feelings.'
Here is a letter, enclosed within one to his sister Fanny on September 9, written on a scrap of paper. The apologetic tone of confession is amusing:—
'My dearest Father,—I have not before told you that I have been at work for just three weeks upon a new subject; reading, however, Hebrew every day almost for three hours as well. Schier is not a great Hebraist; and I found the language in one sense easier than I expected, so that with good grammar and dictionary I can quite get on by myself, reading an easy part of the Bible (historical books, e.g.} at the rate of about twenty-five verses an hour. Well, I began to think that I ought to use the opportunities that Dresden affords. I know that Hebrew is not a rich language; that many words occur only once, and consequently have an arbitrary meaning attached to them, unless they can be illustrated from cognate languages. Now I have a taste for these things, and have in three weeks progressed so far in my new study as to feel sure I shall make it useful; and so I tell you without fear I am working at Arabic. I hope you won't think it silly. It is very hard, and for ten days was as hard work as I ever had in my life. I think I have learnt enough to see my way now, and this morning read the first chapter of Genesis in three-quarters of an hour. It is rich, beyond all comparison, in inflexions; and the difficulty arises from the extreme multiplicity of all its forms: e.g. each verb having not only active, middle, and passive voices, but the primitive active having not less than thirty-five derivative forms and the passive thirteen. The "noun of action,"—infinitive with article (to akonein) of the Greek—is again different for each voice or form; and the primitive can take any of twenty-two forms, which are not compounded according to any rule. Again, there are twenty-eight sets of irregular plurals, which are quite arbitrary. No grammarian has ever given any explanation about them. All mere matters of memory. The very alphabet shows the richness of the language. There are twenty-nine letters, besides vowel points; and each letter is written in four different ways, so that it is different when isolated, when in the beginning, middle, or end of a word. It took me some hours to learn them. In very many respects, it is closely allied to the Hebrew, so that everybody who writes Hebrew grammars and lexicons necessarily has much to do with Arabic; and a knowledge of it may be of great use in clearing up difficulties in the Bible. My year in Oxford will enable me to go on with it, for in three weeks more I hope to be able to go on alone. To-morrow I begin the Koran. My lessons will not in all exceed 31; and I really should have gone on, perhaps, not much faster with Hebrew if I had worked it exclusively; and it is hard to read so many hours at one thing: and I may say, now without doubt, that I have laid the foundation for a study of Oriental languages, if I have time and opportunity that may be fairly given to them. Think what one hour a day is, and the pleasure to me is very great, and I feel that I have a knack rather (if I may say so) of laying hold of these things. Don't mention it to anyone.'
There the fragment breaks off; and in a letter of August 29 there occurs this reply to a message from his eldest sister:—
'Thank dear Joan for her caution: I know I need it sadly, especially now when I am at work upon somewhat out-of-the-way subjects, and feel the danger of forgetting that if I mistake the means for the end, and feel gratified with the mere intellectual amusement, I am doing very wrong, even when I am working very hard at very difficult matters. I like these things, I must confess, and the time is so well adapted to work here, and now that the weather is cool I can secure every day a good long time to myself.' In the enclosed letter he announces that he shall leave Dresden in another three weeks. He says:—
'We have had a steady working time of it here; and as I know some members of the family rather discourage these Continental flights, I just sum up the advantages thereof. Being naturally endowed with a love of music, the probability is, that when you, Clara, and Miss Horsley are together in the house, as soon as a Lied or Sonata began, away would go my books, or at all events my thoughts. You know well that the piano goes at all hours, and always in the morning at home. Then riding,, walking with Father, long sitting after dinner, &c. do not improve the chances for reading. In fact, you know that what with visitors from without, friends within, parties, &c., I should have had very little reading in the vacation, and that not through my own fault—not a Stilbehen in the house could protect me from music. Here I make my own time, and last week my eyes were troublesome. I walked twice every day, exactly at the hour when I most wanted it; and without nonsense, I may say that I have in two months done really a great deal more than I could have done at home even with masters. This all applies to Arthur just as much. He has read German exclusively most of the time, and knows as well as I do that it is not possible to work at home. If I could go on just as well as with Mendelssohn ringing in my ears, it would be different, but I can't. You remember how pleasant, but how very idle, last vacation was, and especially the last six weeks of it!'
Then, after much about family matters, commissions, and little gifts which he was collecting for all at home—
I should like to get something for everybody, but that is not possible. Luckily, my lessons are less expensive than I expected, and, considering the work, wonderfully cheap. I make good progress, I can say; but the difficulty is great enough to discourage any but a real "grinder" at such work. I have written a scrap for Father, and you will see that I am working away pretty well. I have finished my introductory book, consisting of forty-one fables; and though difficulties present themselves always to really good scholars from time to time, the Bible is not one of the hardest books, not so hard, e.g. as the Koran. Now I can at any future time, if the opportunity comes, go on with these things, and I hope find them really useful. I know you like to hear what I am doing; but be sure to keep it all quiet, let no one know but Father and Joan. You might carelessly tell it to anyone in fun, and I don't wish it to be known. Especially don't let any of the family know. Time enough if I live out my Oxford year, and have really mastered the matter pretty well. Remember this is taken up with a view to elucidate and explain what is so very hard in Hebrew. Hebrew is to be the Hauptsache, this the Hulfsmittel, or some day I hope one of several such helps. It is very important to accustom one's mind to the Denk and Anschauungswerk of the Orientals, which is so different from that of Europeans or their language. How hard are the metaphors of the Bible for this reason!'
There is something in all these long apologies and strenuous desire for secrecy about these Arabic studies that reminds one that the character was a self-conscious introspective one, always striving for humility, and dreading to be thought presumptuous. A simpler nature, if devoid of craving for home sympathy, would never have mentioned the new study at all; or if equally open-hearted, would have let the mention of it among home friends take its chance, without troubling himself as to their possible comments. Indeed, it is curious to observe how elaborate he was at this period about all his concerns, meditating over the cause of whatever affected him. It was a form of growth; and dropped off when the time of action arrived, and his character had shaped itself. It must be remembered, too, that his habit of pouring out all his reflections and feelings to his sisters, and their preservation of his letters, have left much more on record of these personal speculations than is common.
His father made a much simpler matter of the Arabic matter, in the following characteristic letter:—
'Feniton Court: September 14, 1852,
'My dearest Coley,—So far from thinking you wrong in learning Arabic, I feel sure that you are quite right. However, we shall keep your secret, and not say anything about it. I am heartily glad that you should acquire languages, modern as well as ancient. You know I have often pressed the former on your and Jem's notice, from myself feeling my deficiency and regret at it. I can well understand that Arabic, and I should suppose Syriac also, must be of the greatest use towards a true understanding of much of the Old Testament: a great deal of which is doubtless not understood by those who understand only our translation, or even the Septuagint, which I suspect to have many passages far from a faithful vehicle of the meaning of the original. I was greatly delighted with your theological letter, so to speak, as well as with the first, and look to have some jolly conversations with you on such subjects.
'We have many more partridges than our neighbours, and Jem shoots uncommonly well. Three double shots yesterday. I shoot worse than usual; and cannot walk without much fatigue and frequent pain, so that I shall not be able to work enough to get much sport. I got through the Mary Church affair very well—that is, not making a fool of myself—and if I did not do much good, I think I did no harm. The Bishop of Exeter [Phillpotts] is mightily pleased, and wrote me a letter to that effect. Of course I cannot tell you what I said, it would be too long, nor are you likely to see it. It was fully inserted in "Woolmer," and from him copied into the "Guardian."
'I live in hopes to see you well and hearty at Oxford on the 14th of October, till when, adieu, God bless you.
'Your affectionate Father,
The interview with the Bishop of Sydney never took place, for the excellent Bishop Broughton arrived with health shattered by his attendance on the sufferers from fever in the ship which brought him from St. Thomas, and he did not long survive his landing.
The 'Mary Church affair' here referred to was the laying the foundation-stone of the Church, built or restored, it is hard to say which, on the lines of the former one, and preserving the old tower, at St. Mary Church, near Torquay. Though the death of the Rev. Gr. M. Coleridge had broken one tie with the place, it continued to be much beloved by the Patteson family, and Sir John had taken so much share in the church-building work as to be asked to be the layer of the corner-stone. The speech he made at the ensuing luncheon excited much attention and the sisters took care that their brother should not miss reading it. The stay at Dresden was drawing to an end; and he was preparing to return through Berlin, intending to go direct to Oxford and reside there till the summer, when he meant to seek ordination and enter on the Curacy at Alfington. He says to his sister Joanna:—
'It is a long time to pass without seeing you, but I hope, if it please God that we all live on together, that it will be long before such another interval occurs. I have not grown out of an occasional fit of home sickness yet; and on these occasions Arthur and I talk incessantly about domestic matters, and indulge our fancies in conjecturing what you are all doing, and so forth. I followed Joan and Clara's trip, step by step, from the Den at Teignmouth to St. Mary Church, Oddiscombe, Rabbicombe, Anstey's Cave, Meadfoot, &c. How I remember every inch of the dear old places! Better than the mud banks at Felixstowe, are they not, Clara? I shall keep always the scrap from the "Guardian" with Father's speech. I don't think I remember any speech on a similar occasion so thoroughly good, and so likely to do good. Plain, sensible, and manly, no question of words and unimportant differences of opinion; no cant, high or low, just like himself. I pray I may have but a tenth part of his honesty and freedom from prejudice and party spirit. It may come, under God's blessing, if a man's mind is earnestly set on the truth; but the danger is of setting up your own exclusive standard of truth, moral and intellectual. Father certainly is more free from it than any man we ever knew. He tells me in his letter that the Bishop of Sydney is coming home to consult people in England about Synodical Action, &c., and that he is going to meet him and explain to him certain difficulties and mistakes into which he has fallen with regard to administering the Oath of Abjuration and the like matters. How few people, comparatively, know the influence Father exercises in this way behind the scenes, as it were. His intimacy with so many of the Bishops, too, makes his position really of very great importance. I don't want to magnify, but the more I think of him, and know how very few men they are that command such general respect, and bear such a character with all men for uprightness and singleness of purpose, it is very difficult to know how his place could be supplied when we throw his legal knowledge over and above into the scale. I hope he will write: I am quite certain that his opinion will exercise a great influence on very many people. Such a speech as this at Mary Church embodies exactly the sense of a considerable number of the most prudent and most able men of the country, and his position and character give it extra weight, and that would be so equally with his book as with his speech. How delightful it will be to have him at Oxford. He means to come in time for dinner on the 14th, and go away on the 16th; but if he likes it, he will, I daresay, stop now and then on his way to town and back. Jem will not be back in town when he goes up for the Judicial Committee work, so he will be rather solitary there, won't he. I am not, however, sure about the number of weeks Jem must reside to keep his term....'
The enjoyment of the last few days at Dresden 'was much marred by a heavy cold, caught by going to see an admirable representation of 'Egmont,' the last of these theatrical treats so highly appreciated. The journey to Berlin, before the cold was shaken off, resulted in an attack of illness; and he was so heavy and uncomfortable as to be unable to avail himself of his opportunities of interesting introductions.
He returned to his rooms at Merton direct from Germany. Like many men who have come back to Oxford at a riper age than that of undergraduate life, he now entered into the higher privileges and enjoyments of the University, the studies, friendships, and influences, as early youth sometimes fails to do. He was felt by his Oxford friends to have greatly developed since his Balliol terms had been over and the Eton boy left behind. Study was no longer a toil and conscientious effort. It had become a prime pleasure; and men wondered to find the plodding, accurate, but unenthusiastic student of three years back, a linguist and philologist of no common power and attainment. Mr. Roundell says, 'He had become quite another person. Self-cultivation had done much for him. Literature and art had opened his mind and enlarged his interests and sympathies. The moral and spiritual forces of the man were now vivified, refined, and strengthened by the awakening of his intellectual and esthetic nature.'
Ever reaching forward, however, he was on his guard against, as he said, making the means the end. Languages were his pleasure, but a pleasure held in check as only subservient to his preparation for the ministry. He did not mean to use them to the acquirement of academical honour nor promotion, nor did he even rest in the intellectual delight of investigation; he intended them only as keys to the better appreciation of the Scriptures and of the doctrines of the Church, unaware as yet that the gift he was cultivating would be of inestimable value in far distant regions.
In February, while Sir John Patteson was in London, his son James was the cause of much alarm, owing to a mistake by which he swallowed an embrocation containing a large amount of laudanum. Prompt measures, however, prevented any ill effects; and all danger was over before the letter was sent off which informed Coley of what had happened; but the bare idea of the peril was a great shock to one of such warm affections, and so deeply attached to his only brother. He wrote the two following letters to his father and sisters on the first impulse on the receipt of the intelligence:—
'My dearest Father,—I believe I speak truly when I say that I never in my life felt so thoroughly thankful and grateful to God for His great mercy as I did this morning, on reading of dear Jem's danger and safety. He is less accustomed to talk about his feelings than I am, in which I see his superiority, but partly because our tastes are in several respects different, chiefly because of his exceeding amiability and unselfishness. I am sure we love each other very dearly. Ever since his illness at Geneva, I have from time to time contemplated the utter blank, the real feeling of loss, which anything happening to him would bring with it, and the having it brought home close to me in this way quite upset me, as it well might. I pray God that no ill effects may follow, and from what you say I apprehend none. I have often thought that it is much better when two brothers propose to themselves different objects in life, and pursue them with tastes dissimilar on unimportant matters. They act better upon one another; just as I look to Jem, as I have more than once told him, to give me a hint when he sees a want of common sense in anything I take up, because I know I act a good deal from impulse, and take an interest in many things which are perhaps not worth the time I spend on them. It is a mercy that I hope I shall never forget, never cease to be thankful for. Many and many a time, if it please God, I shall look to him in difficulties, and remember how nearly once he was lost to me. I can get away with the greatest ease for a few days on Thursday if desirable, and perhaps old Jem will feel low after this, when you have left him. I think this very likely, from what I know of him, and if you think it too, without asking him if he would like it, I will come up for some other reason. You will not go, I know, unless he is perfectly well; but he might, and I think would, like to have some one with him just at first. Let me know what you think.
'Good-bye, my dearest father.
'Ever your affectionate and dutiful son,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
'Merton, Shrove Tuesday.
'My dearest Joan and Fan,—How we must all have united this morning in pouring out our thanks to God for His great mercy! You will not suspect me of being wanting in love to you, if I say that the contemplation of what might have happened presented such a scene of desolation, such a void, that it would have required all the strength I possess to turn to God in resignation and submission to His will. I have often, very often, thought of that illness at Geneva, but this brought it home to me, perhaps closer still; and I hope I shall never cease to be mindful of, and thankful for, this special providence. Father seems pretty confident that all mischief is prevented; and Jem wrote six hours after he took the laudanum, and had then felt no drowsiness to speak of, and Dr. Watson said there was no fear of anything happening after two hours had elapsed.
'I should like to join with you in showing our gratitude by some deed of charity, or whatever you think right. Something that without any show might be a thank-offering to God for His signal act of mercy.
'Ever your loving Brother,
'J. C. PATTESON.
'5.30. I wrote this quite early this morning. I can hardly think yet what it all means. Now, I feel only a sense of some very heavy affliction removed. Poor dear Father, and all of us! what should we have been without him!'
A letter to the brother himself was written under the same impulse, even more tenderly affectionate, but so deep and intimate, that it would almost be treason to give it to the world. The next letter was written soon after the alarm had passed, but is undated:—
'My dear Fan,—Yesterday I was unluckily too seedy with headache to go on the ice, and this morning I have been skating for half an hour, but the ice is spoilt. Very jolly it is to be twisting and turning about once more. I thought of writing to old Jem to come down for it, as I should think the frost is not severe enough to freeze any but the shallow water of the floods, but it was not good enough to reward him for the trouble of coming so far.
'The constant sense of his preservation from that great danger really prevents my feeling so acutely perhaps as I ought to do the distress of others. I really think I ought to be less cheerful and happy than I feel myself to be. I had a pleasant little talk with Dr. Pusey on Monday: he was recommending me two or three books for Hebrew reading, but they would be of no use to me yet; the language is difficult to advance far into, and you know my shallow way of catching a thing at first rather quickly perhaps, but only superficially. I find my interest increasing greatly in philological studies. One language helps another very much; and the beautiful way in which the words, ideas, and the whole structure indeed, of language pervades whole families, and even the different families, (e.g., the Indo-Germanic and Semitic races,) is not only interesting, but very useful. I wish I had made myself a better Greek and Latin scholar, but unfortunately I used to hate classics. What desperate uphill work it was to read them, a regular exercise of self-denial every morning! Now I like it beyond any study, except Divinity proper, and I try to make up for lost time. There are admirable books in my possession which facilitate the acquisition of critical scholarship very much, and I work at these, principally applying it to New Test. Greek, LXX, &c. But my real education began, I think, with my first foreign trip. It seems as if there was not time for all this, for I have Hebrew, Arabic, &c., to go on with (though this is a slow process), Pearson, Hooker, Blunt on the Reformation (a mere sketch which I read in a day or two at odd times), Commentaries, Trench's Books on Parables and Miracles, which are in my room at home, and would in parts interest you; he is a writer of good common sense, and a well-read man). But I of course want to be reading history as well, and that involves a good deal; physical geography, geology, &c., yet one things helps another very much. I don't work quite as methodically as I ought; and I much want some one to discuss matters with relating to what I read. I don't say all this, I am sure you know, as if I wanted to make out that I am working at grand subjects. I know exceeding little of any one of them, so little history, e.g., that a school girl could expose my ignorance directly, but I like to know what we are doing among ourselves, and we all get to know each other better thereby. I felt so much of late with regard to Jem, that a natural reserve prevents so often members even of the same family from communicating freely to each other their opinions, business, habits of life, experiences of sympathy, approval, disapproval, and the like; and when one member is gone, then it is felt how much more closely such a habit of dealing with each other would have taught us to know him.... Nothing tests one's knowledge so well as questions and answers upon what we have read, stating difficulties, arguments which we can't understand, &c., to each other. Ladies who have no profession to prepare for, in spite of a very large correspondence and numerous household duties, may (in addition to their parochial work as curates!) take up a real course of reading and go into it thoroughly; and this gives girls not only employment for the time, but gives the mind power to seize every other subject presented to it. If you are quite alone, your reading is apt to become desultory. I find it useful to take once or twice a week a walk with Riddell of Balliol, and go through a certain period of Old Testament history; it makes me get it up, and then between us we hammer out so many more explanations of difficult passages than, at all events, I should do by myself. He is, moreover, about the best Greek scholar here, which is a great help to me. You have no idea of the light that such accurate scholarship as his throws upon many disputed passages in the Bible, e.g., "Wisdom is justified of her children," where the Greek preposition probably gives the key to the whole meaning, and many such. So you see, dear old Fan, that the want of some one to pour out this to, for it sounds fearfully pedantic, I confess, has drawn upon you this grievous infliction.
'My kindest love to Father and dear Joan,
'Ever your loving
'J. C. P.'
Fanny Patteson answered with arguments on the other duties which hindered her from entering on the course of deep study which he had been recommending. He replies:—
'Feb. 25, 1853.
'My dearest Fan,—I must answer your very sensible well-written letter at once, because on our system of mutual explanation, there are two or three things I wish to notice in it. First, I never meant that anything should supersede duties which I am well aware you practise with real use to yourself and those about you, e.g., the kindness and sympathy shown to friends, and generally due observance of all social relations. Second, I quite believe that the practical application of what is already known, teaching, going about among the poor, is of far more consequence than the acquisition of knowledge, which, of course, for its own sake is worth nothing. Third, I think you perfectly right in keeping up music, singing, all the common amusements of a country life; of course I do, for indeed what I said did not apply to Joan or you, except so far as this, that we all know probably a great deal of which each one is separately ignorant, and the free communication of this to one another is desirable, I think.
'My own temptation consists perhaps chiefly in the love of reading for its own sake. I do honestly think that for a considerable time past I have read, I believe, nothing which I do not expect to be of real use, for I have no taste naturally for novels, &c. (without, however,, wishing to deny that there may be novels which teach a real insight into character). Barring "I Promessi Sposi" which I take up very seldom when tired, I have not read one for ages: I must except "Old Mortality," read last Vacation at Feniton; but I can't deny that I like the study of languages for its own sake, though I apply my little experience in it wholly to the interpretation of the Bible. I like improving my scholarship, it is true, but I can say honestly that it is used to read the Greek Testament with greater accuracy: so of the Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic. I feel, I confess, sometimes that it is nice, &c., to know several languages, but I try to drive away any such thoughts, and it is quite astonishing how, after a few weeks, a study which would suggest ideas of an unusual course of reading becomes so familiar that I never think of myself when pursuing it, e.g., I don't think that after two hours' grind at Arabic the stupid wrong feeling of its being an out-of-the-way study comes upon me now, it is getting quite natural. It comes out though when I talk or write perhaps with another, but I must try and get over it.
'I believe it to be a good thing to break off any work once or twice a day in the middle of any reading, for meditating a little while and for prayer. This is more easily done at College than elsewhere; and is, I hope, a preventive against such thoughts. Then, as I jog on I see how very little I know, what an immense deal I have to learn to become ordinarily well acquainted with these things. I am in that state of mind, perhaps, when Ecclesiastes (which I am now reading) puts my own case exactly before me. I think, What's the good of it all? And the answer comes, it may be very good properly used, or very mischievous if abused. I do indeed look forward to active parochial work: I think I shall be very happy so employed, and I often try to anticipate the time in thought, and feel with perfect sincerity that nothing is so useful or so full of comfort as the consciousness of trying to fulfil the daily duties of my situation. Here of course I need do nothing; I mean there is nothing to prevent my sitting all day in an arm-chair and reading "Pickwick.".... One word about the way languages help me, that you may not think what I am doing harder than it really is. These three bear the same kind of relation to each other (or rather say these five, Arabic, Syriac, Hebrew, Chaldee, Ethiopia; but of the last I know nothing whatever, and of Chaldee only so much as that it is a dialect of Hebrew in the same character, and consequently anyone who knows Hebrew knows something about it), as German to English, e.g., Bahlom (Arab.), Beel (Syr.), Baal (Heb.), are the same word, as you can see, only written in different characters, and all mean "a lord," so Baal, Beelzebub, or Baalzebeb. Baal Peor, which means, literally, "the Lord of the ravine," viz., the idol worshipped at the Pass in the wilderness. Consequently, in reading any one of these languages, the same word keeps on occurring in all; and the chief use is of course that often a word which occurs only once or twice in Hebrew perhaps is in common use in the others, and so its meaning is fixed. Add to all this, that the Syriac version of the New Testament was made (as all agree) early in the second century, if not at the end of the first, and thus is the very best exponent of the New Testament where the Greek is doubtful; and the additional fact, that though a mixture of Chaldee and Syriac was the language of Palestine in our Lord's time, yet He certainly sometimes spoke what is now our Syriac (e.g., Talitha cumi, &c.), and the importance of it is apparent. Surely to read the language that our Blessed Lord himself used is no small profit as well as delight.
'So I think we may each go on in our several pursuits, each helping each, and each trying to do so without a foolish affectation of learning.
'My best love to dear Father and Joan,
'Ever your affectionate Brother,
'J. C. P.'
Fenelon has said that in a certain stage of piety there is much of self, and Coley was evidently in that stage. His own figure was the primary object before his eyes, neither indulged, nor admired, but criticised, repressed, and by his very best efforts thrust aside, whenever he was conscious that his self-contemplation was self- complacency. Still it was in his nature to behold it, and discuss it, and thus to conquer and outgrow the study in time, while leaving many observations upon self-culture and self-training, that will no doubt become deeply valued as the result of the practical experience of one who so truly mastered that obtrusive self.
Patteson was one of the most decided workers for the admission of improvements and reduction of abuses within his own college, with which each Oxford foundation was endeavouring to forestall compulsory reformation by a University Commission. Mr. Roundell says:—
'His early years as Fellow of Merton coincided with the period of active reform at Oxford which followed upon the Report of the Commission in 1852. What part did the future Missionary Bishop take in that great movement? One who worked with him at that time—a time when University reform was as unfashionable as it is now fashionable- -well remembers. He threw himself into the work with hearty zeal; he supported every liberal proposal. To his loyal fidelity and solid common sense is largely due the success with which the reform of Merton was carried out. And yet in those first days of college reform the only sure and constant nucleus of the floating-Liberal majority consisted of Patteson and one other. Whatever others did, those two were always on the same side. And so, somehow, owing no doubt to the general enlightenment which distinguished the senior Fellows of Merton under the old regime—an enlightenment unquestionably due to the predominance in that College of the lay non-resident element—the new reforming spirit found itself in the ascendency. It is to the honour of Patteson, and equally to the honour of the older Fellows of the College at that time, that so great an inroad upon old traditions should have been made with such an entire absence of provocation on the one side, or of irritation on the other. But Patteson, with all his reforming zeal, was also a high-bred gentleman. He remembered what was due to others as well as to himself. His bearing was one of respect for authority, of deference towards those who were his superiors in age. He knew how to differ. He showed towards others the considerate courtesy which others in return so abundantly showed towards him. And this generous forbearance of the seniors had its reward. It entailed upon the juniors a reciprocity of respect. It was felt by them at the time to be an additional incentive to moderation, to sobriety, to desistance from extreme views. The result was that the work got done, and what was done left no heartburnings behind.
'Yet it would be delusive to pretend to claim Bishop Patteson as a Liberal in the political sense of the word. He was no such thing. If anything, his instincts, especially in Church matters, drew him the other way. But those who knew the man, like those who have seen the Ammergau Play, would as soon think of fastening upon that a sectarian character, as of fixing him with party names. His was a catholic mind. What distinguished him was his open-mindedness, his essential goodness, his singleness and simplicity of aim. He was a just man, and singularly free from perturbations of self, of temper, or of nerves. You did not care to ask what he would call himself. You felt what he was, that you were in the presence of a man too pure for party, of one in whose presence ordinary party distinctions almost ceased to have a meaning. Such a man could scarcely be on the wrong side. Both the purity of his nature and the rectitude of his judgment would have kept him straight.'
Coley remained at Merton until the Long Vacation of 1853; when his Oxford life terminated, though not his connection with the University, for he retained his Fellowship until his death, and the friendships he had formed both at Balliol and Merton remained unbroken.
THE CURACY AT ALFINGTON. 1853-1855.
Preparation for ordination had become Patteson's immediate object. As has been already said, his work was marked out. There was a hamlet of the parish of Ottery St. Mary, at a considerable distance from the church and town, and named Alfington.
Some time previously, the family of Sir John Kennaway had provided the place with a school, which afterwards passed into the hands of Mr. Justice Coleridge, who, in 1849, there built the small church of St. James, with parsonage, school, and house, on a rising ground overlooking the valley of Honiton, almost immediately opposite to Feniton; and, at the same time, took on himself the expenses of the curacy and school, for the vicar of the parish, the Rev. Dr. Cornish, formerly master of Ottery School.
The first curate of Alfington was Judge Coleridge's son Henry, the well-known author of the beautiful Life of St. Francis Xavier. On his leaving our communion, it was his father's wish that Coleridge Patteson should take the cure; and, until his ordination, it was committed temporarily to other hands, in especial to the Rev. Henry Gardiner, who was much beloved there. In the spring of 1853, he had a long and dangerous illness, when Coley came to nurse him, and became so much attached to him, that his influence and unconscious training became of great importance. The church was served by such clerical friends as could give their assistance on Sunday, and the pastoral care, attention to the school, cottage visiting, &c., became the employment of the candidate for Holy Orders, who thus began his work under the direction of his disabled friend.
A letter to his sister shows how he plunged into the drudgery of the parish, doing that which always cost him most, namely, administering rebukes; so that it was no wonder that he wrote with a sort of elation at having lashed himself up to the point of giving a thorough warning:—
'Feniton: July 19, 1853.
'My dearest Fan,—I am going to Thorverton to-day to stay till Thursday. Gardiner came downstairs on Sunday, and again yesterday, and is making very rapid strides towards perfect recovery. He even went out yesterday for a few minutes. So I don't mind leaving him in the least; and indeed he is going to Sidmouth himself, probably at the end of the week. I have seen him every day without one exception, and have learnt a very great deal from him. He has studied very closely school work, condition of the labourer, boys' homes, best method of dispensing charity, &c., and on all these points his advice has been really invaluable. I feel now that I am quite to all intents working the district. People ask me about their children coming to school. I know almost all the people in the village, and a good many out of it, and begin to understand, in a very small way, what a clergyman's life is. A mixture of sorrow and pleasure indeed! There are many very sad cases of hypocrisy, filthiness, and wickedness (as I suppose there are in every district); and yesterday I had a very hard-working and in one case most painful day.
'Some people had asked me to take their boy, three years and a half old, to school—a wretched pair, with a little savage for a son. I said I would speak to Miss Wilkins, and put plainly before her the character of parents and child. However, she wished to have him, and I knew it was so far well to get the boy away from home. But such a scene ensued! The boy was really like a little savage; kicked, dashed his head against the wall, and at length, with his nose bleeding violently, exhausted with his violence, fell asleep. Next day, he is so bad, he is sent home; when the mother drives him back to school, cursing and swearing, telling Miss Wilkins she may kill him if she pleases! Unluckily, I was not in school.
'Yesterday he was in school and more quiet, but did not kneel down at prayers, and seemed like a little beast beginning to be tamed. So, after school, I called him to me, and putting him before my knees asked him some questions very kindly: "Did he know who God was? Had he never been taught to kneel down and say his prayers? Of course he had not, but it gave me the proper opportunity of speaking to his parents. So having now considered the matter for two or three days previously, having ascertained all the facts about the people, after an hour among some others in the village, I went right into their cottage, and luckily found father and mother and grandmother at home, besides one or two more (who are lodgers) in a room adjoining, with the door open. "I am come to talk to you about William," I began, whereupon I saw the woman turn quite red. However, I spoke for about ten minutes slowly and very quietly, without any appearance (as I believe) of anger or passion at all, but yet speaking my mind quite plainly. "I had no idea any child could be so neglected. Did they suppose the school was a place where any parent might send a child merely to get it out of the way (of course they do, you know, most of them)? Was it possible that a child could be made good as if by magic there, when it learns nothing but wicked words at home? Do you think you can or ought to get rid of the duties you owe your child? Do you suppose that God will not require from you an account of the way you have behaved towards him, you who have never taught him to know who God is, what God is, what is prayer, what is the church, who have taught that little mouth, which God created for praise and blessings, to curse and blaspheme? I know that many children do and say wicked things, but it is in most cases owing to the neglect of their parents, who do not speak kindly to their children, and do what they can to keep them out of temptation, but this is a different case. Your boy is not fit to come into the company of little Christians! Awful as it is to think of, he is already, at his early age, the very dread of the parents who live near you."
'They had not a word to say, not a syllable beyond the objection which I had already met, that other children were bad too. I did not say what I might have said with truth, because it is only from Gardiner's report, not from my own knowledge—viz., that neither father nor mother ever come to church, and that their house is the centre of evil to the young people of the village.
'"Now," I said, in conclusion, "I fully meant to send back your boy, and tell you I would examine him six months hence, to see if he was fit to be brought into the school, but as I do trust he may behave better, and that this may be the means of recovering him from this sad state, I shall take him still, unless he behaves again very badly. But remember this—this is the turning point in the boy's life, and all, humanly speaking, depends on the example you set him. What an awful thing it would be, if it pleased God to take him away from you now, and a fit of measles, scarlatina, or any such illness, may do it any day! Remember that you are responsible to a very great extent for your child; that unless it sees you watchful over your thoughts, words, and actions; unless it sees you regular and devout in prayer at home (I don't believe they ever think of such a thing— God forgive me, if I am wrong); unless it sees you habitually in your place in God's house, you are not doing your duty to yourselves or your child, you are not laying up any hope or comfort whatever for the day of your sickness and death. Now I hope you clearly understand me. I have spoken plainly—exactly what I think, and what I mean to act upon. You know now the sort of person you have to deal with. Good morning,"—and thereupon I marched out, amazed at my own pluck, and heartily glad that I had said what I wished, and felt I ought to say.
'But I need hardly tell you that this left me in a state of no slight excitement, and that I should be much comforted by hearing what you and Father and Joan think of my behaviour.
'Meanwhile, there are some very nice people; I dearly love some of the boys and girls; and I do pray that this plan of a boys' home may save some from contamination. I, seated with Sanders last night, found him and his wife very hearty about it. I have only mentioned it to three people, but I rather wish it to be talked about a little now, that they may be curious, &c., to know exactly what I mean to do. The two cottages, with plenty of room for the Fley's family and eight boys, with half an acre of garden at 11. 5s. the year. I shall of course begin with only one or two boys—the thing may not answer at all; but everyone, Gardiner, several farmers, and two or three others, quite poor, in different places, all say it must work well, with God's blessing. I do not really wish to be scheming away, working a favourite hobby, &c., but I do believe this to be absolutely essential. The profligacy and impurity of the poor is beyond all belief. Every mother of a family answers (I mean every honest respectable mother of a family): "Oh sir, God will bless such a work, and it is for want of this that so much misery and wretchedness abound." I believe that for a year or so it will exhaust most of my money, but then it is one of the best uses to which I can apply it; for my theory is, that help and assistance is wanted in this way, and I would wish to make most of these things self-supporting. Half an acre more of garden, thoroughly well worked, will yield an astonishing return, and I look to Mary as a person of really economical habits. It is a great relief to have poured all this out. It is no easy task that I am preparing for myself. I know that I fully expect to be very much disappointed, but I am determined to try it. I am determined to try and make the people see that I am not going to give way to everybody that asks; but that I am going to set on foot and help on all useful industrial schemes of every kind, for people of every age. I am hard at work, studying spade husbandry, inspectors' reports of industrial schools, &c. I am glad you are all so happy. I am so busy. Best love to all.
'J. C. P.'
Coley was thus already serving a vigorous apprenticeship in pastoral work, while preparing himself for receiving deacon's orders. It was a trying time both to his family and himself, for, as before said, his standard was very high, and his own strong habit of self- contemplation made his dissatisfaction with himself manifest in his manner to those nearest to him. He was always gentle and unselfish; not showing temper, but unhappiness.
Here are letters showing a good deal of his state of mind: the first only dated 'Saturday evening,' but evidently written about this time, in reply to the cautions with which his sister had replied to the above letter of eager plans of improvement.
'My dearest Fan,—Your letter has just reached me from Honiton, and I have read it with very great interest. I liked it better on a second perusal of it, which showed in itself that I wanted it, for it is quite true that I require to be reminded of the only true principle upon which one ought to work; and I allow quite willingly that I trace interested motives—e.g., love of self-approval or applause in actions where such feelings ought least of all to enter. I certainly did feel pleased with myself for speaking plainly to those people, and I often find myself indulging the notion that I am going to be a very hard-working clergyman, with a remedy for all the evils of the age, &c. If I was to hunt about for an excuse, I might perhaps find one, by saying that I am in that state of mind which attends always, I suppose, the anticipation of any great crisis in a person's life; sometimes hard work and hard thought, sometimes (though alas! very seldom) a real sense of the very awful responsibility of ministering in the Church, sometimes a less natural urging of the mind to contemplate and realise this responsibility. I was for some time reading Wilberforce's new book, and this involved an examination of the question in other writers; but lately I have laid all controversial works aside almost entirely, and have been reading Pearson, Bull, and the Apostolical Fathers, Clement and Ignatius. I shall probably read Justin Martyr's Apologies, and some treatises of Tertullian before next month is over. I have read some part already. There is such a very strong practical element in these very early writings that they ought to soothe and calm the mind; but I cannot honestly conceal the fact that the theological interest for the most part outweighs the practical teaching.
'My light reading is of a new and very amusing and interesting character—viz., books on school economy, management of school farms, allotments, the modern dairy, spade husbandry, agricultural chemistry. K, W, F, C, and G, and I have great talks; and as they all agree with me, I think them capital judges.
'I don't think at all that my present state of mind is quite natural. You quite repeat my own words when you say it is transitory. A calm undisturbed spirit of prayer and peace and contentment is a great gift of God, and to be waited for with patience. The motto of "The Christian Year" is very beautiful. I sent the roses on Tuesday. My best love to dear Father and Joan.
'Ever your loving Brother,
'J. C. P.'
These words 'love of self-approval' perfectly analysed that snare of Coley's early life, against which he so endeavoured to guard—not self-conceit, but love of self-approval.
So the Easter week drew on, and during it he writes to his cousin:—
'Friday, Wallis Lodgings, Exeter: September, 1853.
'My dear Sophy,—We have had a good examination, I think; perhaps rather harder than I expected. Woolecombe and Chancellor Harrington spoke to me this morning, thanking me for my papers, and telling me to read the Gospel at the Ordination.
'I did feel very nervous last Sunday and Monday, and the Ember Prayer in the morning (when I was at Ottery) fairly upset me, but I don't think anybody saw it; now, I am thankful to say, I am very well, and feel thoroughly happy. I shall be nervous, no doubt, on Sunday, and especially at reading the Gospel, but not I think so nervous as to break down or do anything foolish; so when you know I am reading—for you won't hear me, if you are in the stalls, don't distress yourself about me.
'I can't tell what it was that upset me so on Sunday and Monday— thinking of dear Mamma and how she had wished for this, the overwhelming kindness of everybody about me, dear Father's simple words of very affectionate comfort and advice.
'But I walked into Exeter, and on the way got quite calm, and so I have been ever since. It is not strange that the realising the near approach of what I have for years wished for, and looked forward to, should at times come upon me with such force that I seem scarcely master of myself; but it is only excitement of feeling, and ought, I know, to be repressed, not for a moment to be entertained as a test of one's religious state, being by no means a desirable thing. I am very glad the examination is over. I did not worry myself about it, but it was rather hard work, and now I have my time to myself for quiet thought and meditation.
'Ever, dear Sophy, your affectionate Cousin,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
The next evening he writes:—
'Saturday, 5.45 P.M.
'My dearest Father,—I must write my last letter as a layman to you. I can't tell you the hundredth part of the thoughts that have been passing through my mind this week. There has been no return of the excitement that I experienced last Sunday and Monday, and I have been very happy and well.
'To-day my eyes are not comfortable, from I know not what cause, but as all the work for them is over, it does not matter so much. I am glad to have had a quiet time for reflection. Indeed, I do not enough realise my great unworthiness and sinfulness, and the awful nature of the work I am undertaking. I pray God very earnestly for the great grace of humility, which I so sadly need: and for a spirit of earnest prayer, that I may be preserved from putting trust in myself, and may know and forget myself in my office and work. I never could be fit for such work, I know that, and yet I am very thankful that the time for it has come. I do not feel excited, yet I am somewhat nervous because it requires an effort to meditate steadily. I have thought so much of my early life, of dearest Mamma. What a snare it seems, so full of transitory earthly plans and pursuits; such a want of earnestness of purpose and steady performance of duty! God grant my life as a clergyman may be more innocent to myself, and more useful to others! Tell dear Joan the gown came this morning. My kind love to her, Fan, and Jem.
'Ever, my dearest Father,
'Your affectionate and dutiful Son,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
On the ensuing day, Sunday, September 14, 1853, John Coleridge Patteson received the Diaconate at the hands of the venerable Bishop Phillpotts, in Exeter Cathedral. His being selected to read the Gospel was the proof of his superiority in the examination—no wonder, considering the two additional years that he had spent in preparation, and the deep study and searchings of heart of the last few months.
He was established in a small house at Alfington—the usual habitation of the Curate. And of his first sermon there, his uncle, Sir John Coleridge, gives the following touching description from his diary:—
'October 23, 1853.—Yesterday morning Arthur and I went to Alfington Church, to be present at Coley's first sermon. I don't know when I have been so much delighted and affected. His manner of saying the prayers was exceedingly good: his voice very sweet and musical; without seeming loud, it was fully audible, and gave assurance of more power if needed: his manner quite unaffected, but sweet and devout. His sermon was a very sound and good one, beautifully delivered; perhaps in the early parts, from the very sweetness of his voice, and the very rapid delivery of his words, a little more variety of intonation would have helped in conveying his meaning more distinctly to those who formed the bulk of his congregation. But when he came to personal parts this was not needed. He made a kind allusion to me, very affecting to me; and when I was in this mood, and he came to the personal parts, touching himself and his new congregation, what he knew he ought to be to them and to do for them, what they should do for themselves, and earnestly besought their prayers, I was completely overcome, and weeping profusely.
Fanny Patteson and Arthur Coleridge were sitting with the Judge, and were equally overcome. When the service was over, and the congregation dispersed, Coley joined these three in the porch, holding out his hands, taking theirs and shedding tears, and they with him—tears of warm emotion too deep for words. He was evidently surprised at the effect produced. In fact, on looking at the sermon, it does not seem to have been in itself remarkable, but as his cousin Arthur says: 'I suppose the deep spirituality of the man, and the love we bore him for years, touched the emotional part of us.' The text was significant: 'We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake' (2 Cor. iv. 5).
The services that the newly-ordained Deacon undertook were the ordinary Sunday ones, and Wednesday and Friday Matins and Litany, Saints'-day prayers and lecture, and an Advent and Lent Evensong and lecture on Wednesdays and Fridays. These last had that great popularity which attends late services. Dr. Cornish used to come on one Sunday in the month to celebrate the Holy Communion (which is given weekly in the mother Church); and when Mr. Grardiner was able to be at Sidmouth, recovering from his illness, he used to come over on the second Sunday in the month for the same purpose; and the next Lent, the Matins were daily, and followed by a lecture.
At this time Patteson's constitutional shrinking from general society was in full force, and he also had that dislike to 'speaking to' people in the way of censure, which so often goes with tender and refined natures, however strong; so that if his housekeeper needed a reproof, he would make his sister administer it, and creep out of reach himself; but this was one of the deficiencies with which he was struggling all his life, and fortunately it is a fact that the most effective lectures usually come from those to whom they cost the most.
This was the hardest part of his ministry. Where kindness and attention were needed, nothing could be more spontaneous, sweet, or winning than his ways. One of his parishioners, a farmer's daughter, writes:—
'Our personal knowledge of him began some months before his Ordination, owing, I suppose, to Mr. Gardiner's severe illness; and as he was very much respected, Mr. Patteson's attentions won from the first our admiration and gratitude, which went on and on until it deepened into that love which I do not think could have been surpassed by the Galatians for their beloved St. Paul, which he records in his Epistle to them (chap. iv. 15). All were waiting for him at his Ordination, and a happy delusion seemed to have come over the minds of most, if not all, that he was as completely ours as if he had been ordained expressly for us.'
It was not his own feeling, for he knew that when his apprenticeship should be past, the place was too small, and the work too easy, for a man in full force and vigour, though for the sake of his father he was glad to accept it for the present, to train himself in the work, and to have full time for study; but he at that time looked to remaining in England during his father's lifetime, and perhaps transferring himself to Manchester, Liverpool, London, or some large city, where there was need of mission work among the neglected.
His father was on the City of London Charter Commission, and was in London from November to February, the daughters joining him there, but there was no lack of friends around Alfington. Indeed it was in the midst of an absolute clan of Coleridges, and in Buckerell parish, at Deerpark, that great old soldier, Lord Seaton, was spending the few years that passed between his Commissioner-ship in the Ionian Isles and his Commandership in Ireland.
He was connected with the Coleridges through the Yonge family, and the young people were all on familiar cousinly terms. Coley was much liked by him; and often joined in the rides through the lanes and to the hills with him and his daughters, when there were many conversations of much interest, as there could not fail to be with a man who had never held a government without doing his utmost to promote God's work in the Church and for education; who had, moreover, strong opinions derived from experience of the Red Indians in Upper Canada—namely, that to reclaim the young, and educate them was the only hope of making Christianity take root in any fresh nation.
It was at Deerpark, at a dinner in the late autumn of this year 1853, that I saw Coley Patteson for the second and last time. I had seen him before in a visit of three days that I made at Feniton with my parents in the September of 1844, when he was an Eton boy, full of high spirits and merriment. I remember then, on the Sunday, that he and I accompanied our two fathers on a walk to the afternoon service at Ottery, and that on the way he began to show something of his inner self, and talked of his mother and her pleasure in Feniton; but it began to rain, and I stayed for the night at Heaths Court, so that our acquaintance ceased for that time. It was not a formal party at Deerpark, and the evening was chiefly spent in playing at games, thread paper verses and the like, in which Coley took his part with spirit. If I had guessed what he was to be, I should have observed him more; but though, in after years, our intercourse in letters makes us feel intimate with one another, these two brief meetings comprise the whole of my personal acquaintance with one in whom I then only saw a young clergyman with his heart in his work.
Perhaps this is the best place to mention his personal appearance, as the portrait at the beginning of this volume was taken not more than a year later.
He was tall and of a large powerful frame, broad in the chest and shoulders, and with small neat hands and feet, with more of sheer muscular strength and power of endurance than of healthiness, so that though seldom breaking down and capable of undergoing a great deal of fatigue and exertion, he was often slightly ailing, and was very sensitive to cold. His complexion was very dark, and there was a strongly marked line between the cheeks and mouth, the corners of which drooped when at rest, so that it was a countenance peculiarly difficult to photograph successfully. The most striking feature was his eyes, which were of a very dark clear blue, full of an unusually deep earnest, and so to speak, inward, yet far away expression. His smile was remarkably bright, sweet and affectionate, like a gleam of sunshine, and was one element of his great attractiveness. So was his voice, which had the rich full sweetness inherited from his mother's family, and which always excited a winning influence over the hearers. Thus, though not a handsome man, he was more than commonly engaging, exciting the warmest affection in all who were concerned with him, and giving in return an immense amount of interest and sympathy, which only became intensified to old friends while it expanded towards new ones. Here is a letter to his father, undated, but written not long after his settling down at Alfington. After expressing his regret that his voice had been inaudible to his sister Joanna at a Friday evening service, he proceeds:—
'I did not speak very loud, because I don't think I could do so and at the same time keep my mind at work and thoughts collected. Anything which is so unnatural and unusual as to make me conscious of myself in a peculiar manner would prevent, I fear, my getting on with my oration at all.
'I am glad you think I could not have acted otherwise with E—-. I quite expect ere long to find something going on which may call for my interference, and I specially guarded myself on this point. It is distinctly understood that I shall speak to him quite plainly whenever and wherever I think it necessary to do so. I do not suppose it very likely that he can go on long without my being forced to take some step; but I really feel so very unequal to expressing a decided opinion upon the great question of Bible readers, that I am certainly glad I have not taken up a hostile position hastily. As a matter of fact, he reads in very few cottages in my district; tracts he distributes almost everywhere.
'Now I see of course the distinction between a man making it his business to read the Bible and neighbours dropping in occasionally to read a chapter to one who is unable to read, but where you are distinctly told that the wish is most decidedly to support the clergyman, and answers not unsatisfactory are given upon main points, what difference remains between the two cases I have put that can furnish matter for fair argument, with a man from education, &c., disposed to take a different view of the whole question? Add to this, that I cannot appeal to the universal practice of the clergy. "Why," might it be said, "do you, as a clergyman find a difficulty where Mr. H. finds none? You are, after all, acting on your own private opinion, though you lay claim to authority for it." I cannot successfully appeal to the distinctive teaching of our Church, clear and manifest as it is, for the very words I think conclusive contain no such evidence for him, and so on ad infinitum. Besides, to speak quite what I feel at present, though only so perhaps because my view is necessarily unformed, the natural order of things in such a district as this seems to be: gain the affections of the people by gentleness and showing real interest in their welfare, spiritual and temporal; show them in the Bible such teaching as the Church considers necessary (but not as yet upon the authority of the Church, or at least not so expressed to them); lead them gradually to the acknowledgment of such truths as these: that Christ did found a society called the Church, and appoint to certain persons whom he sent the Ministry of reconciliation; that if we have no guide but mere opinion, there will be thousands of conflicting opinions in the world even among good men, whereas Truth can be but one, and that practically this is found to be so; that it is no argument to say, that the Spirit so operated as to enlighten the reason of each individual to this extent, viz., that it may compose a Creed for him or herself; that the Spirit acts now in the ordinary, though not less real and heavenly manner; and that the infinite divisions among sectaries proves the fact to be as I state it.
'Thus I imagine the want of that external and visible Church will be felt as necessary to fix the Creeds pasa katadike.
'But to reverse this process, to cram positive teaching down their throats upon the authority of the Church before they know what the Church is, or feel the need of any power outside (so to speak) their own minds to guide them, does seem to me in a place like this (humanly speaking) suicidal. I cannot, of course, tell how much preparatory teaching they have received, but I must judge from what I see and hear, and deal accordingly in each cottage. Some few there are to whom I can speak, as to Church people in the real sense of the word, but these are as two or three in a hundred.
'One line to say whether you think me right or wrong, would be a great comfort to me. I feel no tendency to latitudinarianism, but only to see much good in systems unrecognised by your very highflyers. I believe that the Church teaching is represented in an unfavourable, often offensive, light to many of our poor, because they hear words and see things which find no response in their hearts; because they are told, ordered almost, to believe things the propriety of believing which they do not recognise; because the existence of wants is implied when they have never been felt, and a system for supplying them introduced which finds no room in the understanding or affections of the patient.
'But you know, dear Father, what I mean, without more dusky attempts at explaining myself.
'Do not many High Churchmen want a little more "experimental religion" in Bishop Jebb's sense of the terms: not a religion of the feelings, but a religion brought home to the heart, and truly felt so as to prohibit any systematic criticism of the feelings?
'I am late this week with my sermons, I have not begun either of them, and may have one to-morrow evening if my voice will do its part. I write very long washy concerns, and find it difficult to do otherwise, for it is a good pull upon me week after week, and latterly I have not been able to read very much. I shall look out two or three that I think fair specimens, and ask you by-and-by to run your eye over them, that you may point out the defects.
'My ignorance of the Bible astonishes me, though not so much as it ought to do. I purpose, D.V., to commence a thorough study of the original texts. I must try to become something of a scholar, at all events, to make any progress in the work. I sometimes hope that, in spite of my many backslidings and broken resolutions, some move is taking place within, where most it is wanted; but I live here so quietly, that I have little (comparatively) food for some special faults. Good-bye, my dear Father,
'Your affectionate and dutiful Son,
'J. C. P.'
'Some move taking place within!' It is impossible not to pause and observe how as Confirmation and Communion had almost palpably strengthened the boy's struggles with his inherent faults, so the grace conferred with the Deacon's orders is now felt to be lifting him higher, and enabling him to see further than he has yet seen.
Sermons were, however, never Patteson's forte. Though his pen flowed so freely in letters, and he could pour out his heart extemporaneously with great depth, fervour and simplicity, his sermons were laboured and metaphysical, as if he had taken too much pains with them as it were, and he could not speak to the abstract, as he could to the individual, or when he saw the effect of his words. It was perhaps owing to the defective system which threw two sermons a week upon a young deacon at a time when his mind was working through such an experimental course of study and thought. Yet his people, who had learnt to believe in little but preaching, would not have come to prayers alone; and the extemporary addresses, in which he would probably have been much more successful, would have seemed to him at his age and at that period—twenty years back—too presumptuous to be attempted, at any rate till he had better learnt his ground. How his system would have succeeded, we cannot tell. The nature of the peasantry of the county he had to deal with is, to be quick-witted, argumentative, and ready of retort; open to religious impressions, but with much of self-opinion and conceit, and not much reverence, and often less conscientious in matters of honesty and morality than denser rustics of less apparent piety. The Church had for a long-period been at a peculiarly low ebb in the county, and there is not a neighbourhood which has not traditions of incredibly ignorant, careless and underbred—if not dissipated— clergy; and though there were grand exceptions, they were only respected as men; faith in the whole system, as a system, was destroyed. Bishop Phillpotts, coming down on such elements as these, was, in spite of his soundness of faith and grand trenchant force of character, better as a warrior than as a shepherd, and the controversial and political sides of his character, though invaluable to the Church, did not recommend him to the affections of the people of his diocese, who could not understand the points of the debate, and wanted the direct evidence of spirituality which they could appreciate.
The cholera of 1832 had been especially terrible in the unwholesome precincts of the Devonshire seaports, and the effect was a great craving for religion. The Church was in no condition to avail herself of it; in fact, she would have viewed it with distrust as excitement. Primitive Methodism and Plymouth Brethrenism supplied the void, gave opportunities of prayer, and gratified the quickened longing for devotion; and therewith arose that association of the Church with deadness and of Dissent with life, which infected even the most carefully tended villages, and with which Patteson was doing his best to contend at Alfington. The stage of gaining the people's affection and confidence, and of quickening their religious life, he had attained; and the further work of teaching them that the Church alone gives security of saving union with Christ, was yet to come when his inward call led him elsewhere.
On the 12th of December he says:—
'Yesterday was a very happy day; Gardiner came to help me and he administered the Holy Communion to twenty-seven or twenty-eight of my own people. This is nearly double the average before I came, and two regular attendants are prevented by sickness from being at Church. I trust I have not urged the necessity of communicating unwisely upon them. I preach on it once a month, as you know, and in almost every sermon allude to it, and where occasion offers, speak about it to individuals at home; but I try to put before them the great awfulness of it as well as the danger of neglecting it, and I warn them against coming without feeling really satisfied from what I read to them, and they read in the Bible concerning it. Six came yesterday for the first time.... Old William (seventy-five years of age), who has never been a communicant, volunteered on Thursday to come, if I thought it right. He is, and always has been (I am told), a thoroughly respectable, sober, industrious man, regular at Church once a day; and I went to his cottage with a ticket in my pocket to urge him to consider the danger of going on as if content with what he did and without striving to press onwards, &c. But, after a long conversation on other matters, he said; "I should like, Sir, to come to the Sacrament, if you have no objection;" and very happy and thankful I felt, for I had prayed very earnestly that this old man might be led thither by God's grace, and now it was done without any urging on my part, beyond what he heard in Church and what I had said to his daughter about him.'
The next of his letters is occupied with the pecuniary affairs of his lodging house for farm boys, and the obtaining of ground where they might grow vegetables for their own use.
In February his family returned home, and his sister Fanny thus speaks of him to a friend:—
'He does not look well; and at first we were quite uneasy, for his eyes were heavy and puffed, but he is much better, and confesses that dinners and evenings here do him good, though he quite denies the starving, and Mrs. Knowles also. She says he gets over anxious in mind, and was completely chilled the week he sat in the hall. No doubt his house is still both cold and damp, and the Church the same, and therefore the labour of reading and preaching is very great. We are by degrees interesting him in our winter life, having heard all his performances and plans; and he is very glad to have us back, though much too busy to have missed us when we were away. Now he has daily morning service, with a lecture; and if it lasts, the impression he has made is really extraordinary. We may well pray that he should not be vain of his works. There are men whose whole lives seem changed, if I am to believe what I hear.'
Such was the young Deacon's early success. With an affectionate brother close at hand, and friends within easy reach, his Fellowship preserving his connection with Oxford, his father's and brother's profession with London, in fact, all England could offer; and he would easily have it in his power to take fresh holidays on the Continent and enjoy those delights of scenery, architecture, art and music, which he loved with an appreciation and enthusiasm that could easily have become an absorbing passion. Who could have a smoother, easier, pleasanter career open to him than the Rev. John Coleridge Patteson at six and twenty?
Yet even then, the wish breathed to his mother, at fourteen, that he might devote himself to the cause of the heathen, lay deep in his heart; although for the present, he was, as it were, waiting to see what God would have him do, whether his duty to his father required him to remain at hand, or whether he might be called to minister in some great English manufacturing town.
Early in 1854, it became known that the Bishop of New Zealand and Mrs. Selwyn were about to spend a year in England. Coley's aspirations to mission work were renewed. The thoughts excited by the sermons he had heard at Eton twelve years previously grew in force. He remembered his mother's promise of her blessing, and seriously considered of offering himself to assist in the work in the Southern Hemisphere. He discussed the matter seriously with his friend, Mr. Gardiner, who was strongly of opinion that the scheme ought not to be entertained during his father's lifetime. He acquiesced; but if his heart and mind were convinced, his soul and spirit were not, and the yearnings for the forefront of the battle were not quenched, though there was no slackening of zeal over the present little flock, to make them suspect that he had a thought beyond.
Old ties of friendship already mentioned made the Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn promise to spend a few days at Feniton; and on the 19th of August the New Zealand guests arrived at Feniton. After joining in the family welcome, Coley went apart, and gave way to a great burst of tears, due, perhaps, not so mueh to disappointed ardour, as to the fervent emotion excited by the actual presence of a hero of the Church Militant, who had so long been the object of deep silent enthusiasm. The next morning, Coley walked from Alfington to breakfast at home, and afterwards went into the garden with the Bishop, who led him to talk freely of his present work in all its details. By-and-by the question arose, Did it satisfy him?
Yes, the being near his father satisfied him that it was right for the present, but at some future time, he hoped to do more, go perhaps to some great manufacturing town, or, as he could not help going on to say, what he should like would be to go out as a missionary, only the thought of his father withheld him.
'But,' replied the Bishop, 'if you think about doing a thing of that sort, it should not be put off till you are getting on in life. It should be done with your full strength and vigour.'
Then followed an endeavour on both sides to ascertain whether the inclination was a real earnest desire, or only fancy for the romance of mission work. The test might be whether he were willing to go wherever he might be sent, or only where he was most interested. Coley replied, that he was willing to work anywhere, adding that his sister Fanny could testify whether his desire were a real one of long standing or the mere outcome of a fit of enthusiasm.
Therewith they separated, and Coley, going straight to Fanny, told her what had passed: 'I could not help it,' he said:—'I told the Bishop of my wish.'
'You ought to put it to my father, that he may decide it,' she answered; 'he is so great a man that he ought not to be deprived of the crown of the sacrifice if he be willing to make it.'
So Coley repaired to his father, and confessed his long cherished wish, and how it had come forth to the Bishop. Sir John was manifestly startled; but at once said: 'You have done quite right to speak to me, and not to wait. It is my first impulse to say No, but that would be very selfish.'
Coley explained that he was 'driven to speak;' he declared himself not dissatisfied with his present position, nor he hoped, impatient. If his staying at home were decided upon, he would cheerfully work on there without disappointment or imagining his wishes thwarted. He would leave the decision entirely in the hands of his father and the Bishop.