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sundry foreign languages and literature in his lighter moments,



an inquirer into sociology, a theoretical musician though his

playing of the organ excruciated most people because it was too



correct, a really first-class authority upon flint instruments

and the best grower of garden vegetables in the county, also of



apples--such were some of his attainments. That was what made his

sermons so popular, since at times one or the other of these



subjects would break out into them, his theory being that God

spoke to us through all of these things.



But if I began to drift into an analysis of my father's

abilities, I should never stop. It would take a book to describe



them. And yet mark this, with them all his name is as dead to the

world to-day as though he had never been. Light reflected from a



hundred facets dissipates itself in space and is lost; that

concentrated in one tremendous ray pierces to the stars.



Now I am going to be frank about myself, for without frankness

what is the value of such a record as this? Then it becomes



simply another convention, or rather conventional method of

expressing the octoroon kind of truths with which the highly



civilised races feed themselves, as fastidious ladies eat cakes

and bread from which all but the smallest particle of nourishment



has been extracted.

The fact is, therefore, that I inherited most of my father's



abilities, except his love for flint instruments which always

bored me to distraction, because although they are by association



really the most human of things, somehow to me they never convey

any idea of humanity. In addition I have a practical side which



he lacked; had he possessed it surely he must have become an

archbishop instead of dying the vicar of an unknown parish. Also



I have a spiritual sense, mayhap mystical would be a better term,

which with all this religion was missing from my father's nature.



For I think that notwithstanding his charity and devotion he

never quite got away from the shell of things, never cracked it



and set his teeth in the kernel which alone can feed our souls.

His keen intellect, to take an example, recognised every one of



the difficulties of our faith and flashed hither and thither in

the darkness, seeking explanation, seeking light, trying to



reconcile, to explain. He was not great enough to put all this

aside and go straight to the informing Soul beneath that strives



to express itself everywhere, even through those husks which are

called the World, the Flesh and the Devil, and as yet does not



always quite succeed.

It is this boggling over exteriors, this peering into pitfalls,



this desire to prove that what such senses as we have tell us is

impossible, is in fact possible, which causes the overthrow of



many an earnest, seeking heart and renders its work, conducted on

false lines, quite nugatory. These will trust to themselves and



their own intelligence and not be content to spring from the

cliffs of human experience into the everlasting arms of that



Infinite which are stretched out to receive them and to give them

rest and the keys of knowledge. When will man learn what was



taught to him of old, that faith is the only plank wherewith he

can float upon this sea and that his miserable works avail him



nothing; also that it is a plank made of many sorts of wood,

perhaps to suit our different weights?



So to be honest, in a sense I believe myself to be my father's

superior, and I know that he agreed with me. Perhaps this is



owing to the blood of my Scotch mother which mixed well with his

own; perhaps because the essential spirit given to me, though



cast in his mould, was in fact quite different--or of another

alloy. Do we, I wonder, really understand that there are millions



and billions of these alloys, so many indeed that Nature, or

whatever is behind Nature, never uses the same twice over? That



is why no two human beings are or ever will be quite identical.

Their flesh, the body of their humiliation, is identical in all,



any chemist will prove it to you, but that which animates the

flesh is distinct and different because it comes from the home of



that infinitevariety which is necessary to the ultimate

evolution of the good and bad that we symbolise as heaven and



hell.

Further, I had and to a certain extent still have another



advantage over my father, which certainly came to me from my

mother, who was, as I judge from all descriptions and such






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