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   Chapter 23 A STRIFE OF TONGUES

By What Authority? By Robert Hugh Benson Characters: 36231

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


Anthony now settled down rather drearily to the study of religious controversy. The continual contrasts that seemed forced upon him by the rival systems of England and Rome (so far as England might be said to have a coherent system at this time), all tended to show him that there were these two sharply-divided schemes, each claiming to represent Christ's Institution, and each exclusive of the other. Was it of Christ's institution that His Church should be a department of the National Life; and that the civil prince should be its final arbiter and ruler, however little he might interfere in its ordinary administration? This was Elizabeth's idea. Or was the Church, as Mr. Buxton had explained it, a huge unnational Society, dependent, it must of course be, to some extent on local circumstances, but essentially unrestricted by limit of nationality or of racial tendencies? This was the claim of Rome. Of course an immense number of other arguments circled round this-in fact, most of the arguments that are familiar to controversialists at the present day; but the centre of all, to Anthony's mind, as indeed it was to the mind of the civil and religious authorities of the time, was the question of supremacy-Elizabeth or Gregory?

He read a certain number of books; and it will be remembered that he had followed, with a good deal of intelligence, Campion's arguments. Anthony was no theologian, and therefore missed perhaps the deep, subtle arguments; but he had a normal mind, and was able to appreciate and remember some salient points.

For example, he was impressed greatly by the negative character of Protestantism in such books as Nicholl's "Pilgrimage." In this work a man was held up as a type to be imitated whose whole religion to all appearances consisted of holding the Pope to be Antichrist, and his Church the synagogue of Satan, of disliking the doctrines of merit and of justification by works, of denying the Real Presence, and of holding nothing but what could be proved to his own satisfaction by the Scriptures.

Then he read as much as he could of the great Jewell controversy. This Bishop of Salisbury, who had, however, recanted his Protestant opinions under Mary, and resumed them under Elizabeth, had published in 1562 his "Apology of the Church of England," a work of vast research and learning. Mr. Harding, who had also had the advantage of having been on both sides, had answered it; and then the battle was arrayed. It was of course mostly above Anthony's head; but he gained from what he was able to read of it a very fair estimate of the conflicting theses, though he probably could not have stated them intelligibly. He also made acquaintance with another writer against Jewell,-Rastall; and with one or two of Mr. Willet's books, the author of "Synopsis Papismi" and "Tretrastylon Papisticum."

Even more than by paper controversy, however, he was influenced by history that was so rapidly forming before his eyes. The fact and the significance of the supremacy of the Queen in religion was impressed upon him more vividly by her suspension of Grindal than by all the books he ever read: here was the first ecclesiastic of the realm, a devout, humble and earnest man, restrained from exercising his great qualities as ruler and shepherd of his people, by a woman whose religious character certainly commanded no one's respect, even if her moral life were free from scandal; and that, not because the Archbishop had been guilty of any crime or heresy, or was obviously unfitted for his post, but because his conscientious judgment on a point of Church discipline and liberty differed from hers; and this state of things was made possible not by an usurpation of power, but by the deliberately ordered system of the Church of England. Anthony had at least sufficient penetration to see that this, as a fundamental principle of religion, however obscured it might be by subsequent developments, was yet fraught with dangers compared with which those of papal interference were comparatively trifling-dangers that is, not so much to earthly peace and prosperity, as to the whole spiritual nature of the nation's Christianity.

Yet another argument had begun to suggest itself, bearing upon the same point, of the relative advantages and dangers of Nationalism. When he had first entered the Archbishop's service he had been inspired by the thought that the Church would share in the rising splendour of England; now he began to wonder whether she could have strength to resist the rising worldliness that was bound to accompany it. It is scarcely likely that men on fire with success, whether military or commercial, will be patient of the restraints of religion. If the Church is independent of the nation, she can protest and denounce freely; if she is knit closely to the nation, such rebuke is almost impossible.

A conversation that Anthony had on this subject at the beginning of February helped somewhat to clear up this point.

He was astonished after dinner one day to hear that Mr. Henry Buxton was at the porter's lodge desiring to see him, and on going out he found that it was indeed his old acquaintance, the prisoner.

"Good-day, Master Norris," said the gentleman, with his eyes twinkling; "you see the mouse has escaped, and is come to call upon the cat."

Anthony inquired further as to the details of his release.

"Well, you see," said Mr. Buxton, "they grew a-weary of me. I talked so loud at them all for one thing; and then you see I was neither priest nor agent nor conspirator, but only a plain country gentleman: so they took some hundred or two pounds off me, to make me still plainer; and let me go. Now, Mr. Norris, will you come and dine with me, and resume our conversation that was so rudely interrupted by my journey last time? But then you see her Majesty would take no denial."

"I have just dined," said Anthony, "but--"

"Well, I will not ask you to see me dine again, as you did last time; but will you then sup with me? I am at the 'Running Horse,' Fleet Street, until to-morrow."

Anthony accepted gladly; for he had been greatly taken with Mr. Buxton; and at six o'clock that evening presented himself at the "Running Horse," and was shown up to a private parlour.

He found Mr. Buxton in the highest good-humour; he was even now on his way from Wisbeach, home again to Tonbridge, and was only staying in London to finish a little business he had.

Before supper was over, Anthony had laid his difficulties before him.

"My dear friend," said the other, and his manner became at once sober and tender, "I thank you deeply for your confidence. After being thought midway between a knave and a fool for over a year, it is a comfort to be treated as an honest gentleman again. I hold very strongly with what you say; it is that, under God, that has kept me steady. As I said to you last time, Christ's Kingdom is not of this world. Can you imagine, for example, Saint Peter preaching religious obedience to Nero to be a Christian's duty? I do not say (God forbid) that her Grace is a Nero, or even a Popp?a; but there is no particular reason why some successor of hers should not be. However, Nero or not, the principle is the same. I do not deny that a National Church may be immensely powerful, may convert thousands, may number zealous and holy men among her ministers and adherents-but yet her foundation is insecure. What when the tempest of God's searching judgments begins to blow?

"Or, to put it plainer, in a parable, you have seen, I doubt not, a gallant and his mistress together. So long as she is being wooed by him, she can command; he sighs and yearns and runs on errands-in short, she rules him. But when they are wedded-ah me! It is she-if he turns out a brute, that is-she that stands while my lord plucks off his boots-she who runs to fetch the tobacco-pipe and lights it and kneels by him. Now I hold that to wed the body spiritual to the body civil, is to wed a delicate dame to a brute. He may dress her well, give her jewels, clap her kindly on the head-but she is under him and no free woman. Ah!"-and then Mr. Buxton's eyes began to shine as Anthony remembered they had done before, and his voice to grow solemn,-"and when the spouse is the Bride of Christ, purchased by His death, what then would be the sin to wed her to a carnal nation, who shall favour her, it may be, while she looks young and fair; but when his mood changes, or her appearance, then she is his slave and his drudge! His will and his whims are her laws; as he changes, so must she. She has to do his foul work; as she had to do for King Henry, as she is doing it now for Queen Bess; and as she will always have to do, God help her, so long as she is wedded to the nation, instead of being free as the handmaiden and spouse of Christ alone. My faith would be lost, Mr. Norris, and my heart broken quite, if I were forced to think the Church of England to be the Church of Christ."

They talked late that evening in the private baize-curtained parlour on the third floor. Anthony produced his difficulties one by one, and Mr. Buxton did his best to deal with them. For example, Anthony remarked on the fact that there had been no breach of succession as to the edifices and endowments of the Church; that the sees had been canonically filled, and even the benefices; and that therefore, like it or not, the Church of England now was identical with the Pre-Reformation Church.

"Distinguo," said his friend. "Of course she is the successor in one sense: what you say is very true. It is impossible to put your finger all along the line of separation. It is a serrated line. The affairs of a Church and a nation are so vast that that is sure to be so; although if you insist, I will point to the Supremacy Act of 1559 and the Uniformity Act of the same year as very clear evidences of a breach with the ancient order; in the former the governance is shifted from its original owner, the Vicar of Christ, and placed on Elizabeth; it was that that the Carthusian Fathers and Sir Thomas More and many others died sooner than allow: and the latter Act sweeps away all the ancient forms of worship in favour of a modern one. But I am not careful to insist upon those points; if you deny or disprove them,-though I do not envy any who attempts that-yet even then my principle remains, that all that to which the Church of England has succeeded is the edifices and the endowments; but that her spirit is wholly new. If a highwayman knocks me down to-morrow, strips me, clothes himself with my clothes, and rides my horse, he is certainly my successor in one sense; yet he will be rash if he presents himself to my wife and sons-though I have none, by the way-as the proper owner of my house and name."

"But there is no knocking down in the question," said Anthony. "The bishops and clergy, or the greater part of them, consented to the change."

Mr. Buxton smiled.

"Very well," he said; "yet the case is not greatly different if the gentleman threatens me with torture instead, if I do not voluntarily give him my clothes and my horse. If I were weak and yielded to him, yes, and made promises of all kinds in my cowardice-yet he would be no nearer being the true successor of my name and fortune. And if you read her Grace's Acts, and King Henry's too, you will find that that was precisely what took place. My dear sir," Mr. Buxton went on, "if you will pardon my saying it, I am astounded at the effrontery of your authorities who claim that there was no breach. Your Puritans are wiser; they at least frankly say that the old was Anti-Christian; that His Holiness (God forgive me for saying it!), was an usurper: and that the new Genevan theology is the old gospel brought to light again. That I can understand; and indeed most of your churchmen think so too; and that there was a new beginning made with Protestantism. But when her Grace calls herself a Catholic, and tells the poor Frenchmen that it is the old religion here still: and your bishops, or one or two of them rather, like Cheyney, I suppose, say so too-then I am rendered dumb-(if that were possible). If it is the same, then why, a-God's name, were the altars dragged down, and the screens burned, and the vestments and the images and the stoups and the pictures and the ornaments, all swept out? Why, a-God's name, was the old mass blotted out and this new mingle-mangle brought in, if it be all one? And for the last time, a-God's name, why is it death to say mass now, if it be all one? Go, go: Such talk is foolishness, and worse."

Mr. Buxton was silent for a moment as Anthony eyed him; and then burst out again.

"Ah! but worse than all are the folks that stand with one leg on either stool. We are the old Church, say they;-standing with the Protestant leg in the air,-therefore let us have the money and the buildings: they are our right. And then when a poor Catholic says, Then let us have the old mass, and the old penance and the old images: Nay, nay, nay, they say, lifting up the Catholic leg and standing on the other, those are Popery; and we are Protestants; we have made away with all such mummery and muniments of superstition. And so they go see-sawing to and fro. When you run at one leg they rest them on the other, and you know not where to take them."

And so the talk went on. When the evening was over, and Anthony was rising to return to Lambeth, Mr. Buxton put his hand on his arm.

"Good Mr. Norris," he said, "you have been very patient with me. I have clacked this night like an old wife, and you have borne with me: and now I ask your pardon again. But I do pray God that He may show you light and bring you to the true Church; for there is no rest elsewhere."

Anthony thanked him for his good wishes.

"Indeed," he said, too, "I am grateful for all that you have said. You have shown me light, I think, on some things, and I ask your prayers."

"I go to Stanfield to-morrow," said Mr. Buxton; "it is a pleasant house, though its master says so, not far from Sir Philip Sidney's: if you would but come and see me there!"

"I am getting greatly perplexed," said Anthony, "and I think that in good faith I cannot stay long with the Archbishop; and if I leave him how gladly will I come to you for a few days; but it must not be till then."

"Ah! if you would but make the Spiritual Exercises in my house; I will provide a conductor; and there is nothing that would resolve your doubts so quickly."

Anthony was interested in this; and asked further details as to what these were.

"It is too late," said Mr. Buxton, "to tell you to-night. I will write from Stanfield."

Mr. Buxton came downstairs with Anthony to see him on to his horse, and they parted with much good-will; and Anthony rode home with a heavy and perplexed heart to Lambeth.

* * *

He spent a few days more pondering; and then determined to lay his difficulties before the Archbishop; and resign his position if Grindal thought it well.

He asked for an interview, and the Archbishop appointed an hour in the afternoon at which he would see him in Cranmer's parlour, the room above the vestry which formed part of the tower that Archbishop Cranmer had added to Lambeth House.

Anthony, walking up and down in the little tiled cloisters by the creek, a few minutes before the hour fixed, heard organ-music rolling out of the chapel windows; and went in to see who was playing. He came in through the vestry, and looking to the west end gallery saw there the back of old Dr. Tallis, seated at the little positive organ that the late Archbishop had left in his chapel, and which the present Archbishop had gladly retained, for he was a great patron of music, and befriended many musicians when they needed help-Dr. Tallis, as well as Byrd, Morley and Tye. There were a few persons in the chapel listening, the Reverend Mr. Wilson, one of the chaplains, being among them; and Anthony thought that he could not do better than sit here a little and quiet his thoughts, which were nervous and distracted at the prospect of his coming interview. He heard voices from overhead, which showed that the Archbishop was engaged; so he spoke to an usher stationed in the vestry, telling him that he was ready as soon as the Archbishop could receive him, and that he would wait in the chapel; and then made his way down to one of the return stalls at the west end, against the screen, and took his seat there.

This February afternoon was growing dark, and the only lights in the chapel were those in the organ loft; but there was still enough daylight outside to make the windows visible-those famous windows of Morton's, which, like those in King's Chapel, Cambridge, combined and interpreted the Old and New Testaments by an ingenious system of types and antitypes, in the manner of the "Biblia Pauperum." There was then only a single subject in each light; and Anthony let his eyes wander musingly to and fro in the east window from the central figure of the Crucified to the types on either side, especially to a touching group of the unconscious Isaac carrying the wood for his own death, as Christ His Cross. Beneath, instead of the old stately altar glowing with stuffs and precious metals and jewels which had once been the heart of this beautiful shrine, there stood now a plain solid wooden table that the Archbishop used for the Communion. Anthony looked at it, and sighed a little to himself. Did the altar and the table then mean the same thing?

Meanwhile the glorious music was rolling overhead in the high vaulted roof. The old man was extemporising; but his manner was evident even in that; there was a simple solemn phrase that formed his theme, and round this adorning and enriching it moved the grave chords. On and on travelled the melody, like the flow of a broad river; now sliding steadily through a smiling land of simple harmonies, where dwelt a people of plain tastes and solid virtues; now passing over shallows where the sun glanced and played in the brown water among the stones, as

light arpeggio chords rippled up and vanished round about the melody; now entering a land of mighty stones and caverns where the echoes rang hollow and resonant, as the counterpoint began to rumble and trip like boulders far down out of sight, in subaqueous gloom; now rolling out again and widening, fuller and deeper as it went, moving in great masses towards the edge of the cataract that lies like a line across the landscape: it is inevitable now, the crash must come;-a chord or two pausing,-pausing;-and then the crash, stupendous and sonorous.

Then on again through elaborate cities where the wits and courtiers dwell, and stately palaces slide past upon the banks, and barges move upon its breast, on to the sea-that final full close that embraces and engulfs all music, all effort, all doubts and questionings, whether in art or theology, all life of intellect, heart or will-that fathomless eternal deep from which all comes and to which all returns, that men call the Love of God.

* * *

Anthony stirred in his seat; he had been here ten minutes, proposing to take his restless thoughts in hand and quiet them; and, lo! it had been done for him by the master who sat overhead. Here he, for the moment, remained, ready for anything-glad to take up the wood and bear it to the Mount of Sacrifice-content to be carried on in that river of God's Will to the repose of God's Heart-content to dwell meantime in the echoing caverns of doubt-in the glancing shadows and lights of an active life-in his own simple sunlit life in the country-or even to plunge over the cataract down into the fierce tormented pools in the dark-for after all the sea lay beyond; and he who commits himself to the river is bound to reach it.

He heard a step, and the usher stood by him.

"His Grace is ready, Master Norris."

Anthony rose and followed him.

The Archbishop received him with the greatest kindness. As Anthony came in he half rose, peering with his half-blind eyes, and smiling and holding out his hands.

"Come, Master Norris," he said, "you are always welcome. Sit down;" and he placed him in a chair at the table close by his own.

"Now, what is it?" he said kindly; for the old man's heart was a little anxious at this formal interview that had been requested by this favourite young officer of his.

Then Anthony, without any reserve, told him all; tracing out the long tale of doubt by landmarks that he remembered; mentioning the effect produced on his mind by the Queen's suspension of the Archbishop, especially dwelling on the arrest, the examination and the death of Campion, that had made such a profound impression upon him; upon his own reading and trains of thought, and the conversations with Mr. Buxton, though of course he did not mention his name; he ended by saying that he had little doubt that sooner or later he would be compelled to leave the communion of the Church of England for that of Rome; and by placing his resignation in the Archbishop's hands, with many expressions of gratitude for the unceasing kindness and consideration that he had always received at his hands.

There was silence when he had finished. A sliding panel in the wall near the chapel had been pushed back, and the mellow music of Dr. Tallis pealed softly in, giving a sweet and melodious background, scarcely perceived consciously by either of them, and yet probably mellowing and softening their modes of expression during the whole of the interview.

"Mr. Norris," said the Archbishop at last, "I first thank you for the generous confidence you have shown towards me: and I shall put myself under a further obligation to you by accepting your resignation: and this I do for both our sakes. For yours, because, as you confess, this action of the Queen's-(I neither condemn nor excuse it myself)-this action has influenced your thoughts: therefore you had best be removed from it to a place where you can judge more quietly. And I accept it for my own sake too; for several reasons that I need not trouble you with. But in doing this, I desire you, Mr. Norris, to continue to draw your salary until Midsummer:-nay, nay, you must let me have my say. You are at liberty to withdraw as soon as you have wound up your arrangements with Mr. Somerdine; he will now, as Yeoman of the Horse, have your duties as well as his own; for I do not intend to have another Gentleman of the Horse. As regards an increase of salary for him, that can wait until I see him myself. In any case, Mr. Norris, I think you had better withdraw before Mid-Lent Sunday.

"And now for your trouble. I know very well that I cannot be of much service to you. I am no controversialist. But I must bear my witness. This Papist with whom you have had talk seems a very plausible fellow. His arguments sound very plain and good; and yet I think you could prove anything by them. They seem to me like that openwork embroidery such as you see on Communion linen sometimes, in which the pattern is formed by withdrawing certain threads. He has cleverly omitted just those points that would ruin his argument; and he has made a pretty design. But any skilful advocate could make any other design by the same methods. He has not thought fit to deal with such words of our Saviour as what He says on Tradition; with what the Scriptures say against the worshipping of angels; with what St. Paul says in his Epistle to the Colossians, in the second chapter, concerning all those carnal ordinances which were done away by Christ, but which have been restored by the Pope in his despite; he does not deal with those terrible words concerning the man of sin and the mystery of iniquity. In fact, he takes just one word that Christ let fall about His Kingdom, and builds this great edifice upon it. You might retort to him in a thousand ways such as these. Bishop Jewell, in his book, as you know, deals with these questions and many more; far more fully than it is possible for you and me even to dream of doing. Nay, Mr. Norris; the only argument I can lay before you is this. There are difficulties and troubles everywhere; that there are such in the Church of England, who would care to deny? that there are equally such, aye, and far more, in the Church of Rome, who would care to deny, either? Meanwhile, the Providence of God has set you here and not there. Whatever your difficulties are here, are not of your choosing; but if you fly there (and I pray God you will not) there they will be. Be content, Master Norris; indeed you have a goodly heritage; be content with it; lest losing that you lose all."

Anthony was greatly touched by this moderate and courteous line that the Archbishop was taking. He knew well in his heart that the Church of Rome was, in the eyes of this old man, a false and deceitful body, for whom there was really nothing to be said. Grindal, in his travels abroad during the Marian troubles, had been deeply attracted by the Genevan theology, with whose professors he had never wholly lost touch; and Anthony guessed what an effort it was costing him, and what a strain it was on his conscience, thus to combine courtesy with faithfulness to what he believed to be true.

Grindal apparently feared he had sacrificed his convictions, for he presently added: "You know, Mr. Norris, that I think very much worse of Papistry than I have expressed; but I have refrained because I think that would not help you; and I desire to do that more than to relieve myself."

Anthony thanked him for his gentleness; saying that he quite understood his motives in speaking as he had done, and was deeply obliged to him for it.

The Archbishop, however, as indeed were most of the English Divines of the time, was far more deeply versed in destructive than constructive theology; and, to Anthony's regret, was presently beginning in that direction.

"It is beyond my imagination. Mr. Norris," he said, "that any who have known the simple Gospel should return to the darkness. See here," he went on, rising, and fumbling among his books, "I have somewhere here what they call an Indulgence."

He searched for a few minutes, and presently shook out of the leaves of Jewell's book a paper which he peered at, and then pushed over to Anthony.

It was a little rectangular paper, some four or five inches long; bearing a figure of Christ, wounded, with His hands bound together before Him, and the Cross with the superscription rising behind. In compartments on either side were instruments of the Passion, the spear, and the reed with the sponge, with other figures and emblems. Anthony spelt out the inscription.

"Read it aloud, Mr. Norris," said the Archbishop.

"'To them,'" read Anthony, "'that before this image of pity devoutly say five paternosters, five aves and a credo, piteously beholding these arms of Christ's Passion, are granted thirty-two thousand seven hundred and fifty-five years of pardon.'"

"Now, Mr. Norris," said the Archbishop, "have you considered that it is to that kind of religion that you are attracted? I will not comment on it; there is no need."

"Your Grace," said Anthony slowly, laying the paper down, "I need not say, I think, that this kind of thing is deeply distasteful to me too. Your Grace cannot dislike it more than I do. But then I do not understand it; I do not know what indulgences mean; I only know that were they as mad and foolish as we Protestants think them, no truthful or good man could remain a Papist for a day; but then there are many thoughtful and good men Papists; and I conclude from that that what we think the indulgences to be, cannot be what they really are. There must be some other explanation.

"And again, my lord, may I add this? If I were a Turk I should find many things in the Christian religion quite as repellent to me; for example, how can it be just, I should ask, that the death of an innocent man, such as Christ was, should be my salvation? How, again, is it just that faith should save? Surely one who has sinned greatly ought to do something towards his forgiveness, and not merely trust to another. But you, my lord, would tell me that there are explanations of these difficulties, and of many more too, of which I should gradually understand more and more after I was a Christian. Or again, it appears to me even now, Christian as I am, judging as a plain man, that predestination contradicts free-will; and no explanation can make them both reasonable. Yet, by the grace of God, I believe all these doctrines and many more, not because I understand them, for I do not; but because I believe that they are part of the Revelation of God. It is just so, too, with the Roman Catholic Church. I must not take this or that doctrine by itself; but I must make up my mind whether or no it is the one only Catholic Church, and then I shall believe all that she teaches, because she teaches it, and not because I understand it. You must forgive my dulness, my lord; but I am but a layman, and can only say what I think in simple words."

"But we must judge of a Christian body by what that body teaches," said the Archbishop. "On what other grounds are you drawn to the Papists, except by what they teach?"

"Yes, your Grace," said Anthony, "I do judge of the general body of doctrine, and of the effect upon the soul as a whole; but that is not the same as taking each small part, and making all hang upon that."

"Well, Mr. Norris," said the Archbishop, "I do not think we can talk much more now. It is new to me that these difficulties are upon you. But I entreat you to talk to me again as often as you will; and to others also-Dr. Redmayn, Mr. Chambers and others will be happy if they can be of any service to you in these matters: for few things indeed would grieve me more than that you should turn Papist."

Anthony thanked the Archbishop very cordially for his kindness, and, after receiving his blessing, left his presence. He had two or three more talks with him before he left, but his difficulties were in no way resolved. The Archbishop had an essentially Puritan mind, and could not enter into Anthony's point of view at all. It may be roughly said that from Grindal's standpoint all turned on the position and responsibility of the individual towards the body to which he belonged: and that Anthony rather looked at the corporate side first and the individual second. Grindal considered, for example, the details of the Catholic religion in reference to the individual, asking whether he could accept this or that: Anthony's tendency was rather to consider the general question first, and to take the difficulties in his stride afterwards. Anthony also had interviews with the Archdeacon and chaplain whom Grindal had recommended; but these were of even less service to him, as Dr. Redmayn was so frankly contemptuous, and Mr. Chambers so ignorant, of the Romish religion that Anthony felt he could not trust their judgment at all.

In the meanwhile, during this last fortnight of Anthony's Lambeth life, he received a letter from Mr. Buxton, explaining what were the Spiritual Exercises to which he had referred, and entreating Anthony to come and stay with him at Stanfield.

"Now come, dear Mr. Norris," he wrote, "as soon as you leave the Archbishop's service; I will place three or four rooms at your disposal, if you wish for quiet; for I have more rooms than I know what to do with; and you shall make the Exercises if you will with some good priest. They are a wonderful method of meditation and prayer, designed by Ignatius Loyola (one day doubtless to be declared saint), for the bringing about a resolution of all doubts and scruples, and so clearing the eye of the soul that she discerns God's Will, and so strengthening her that she gladly embraces it. And that surely is what you need just now in your perplexity."

The letter went on to describe briefly the method followed, and ended by entreating him again to come and see him. Anthony answered this by telling him of his resignation of his post at Lambeth, and accepting his invitation; and he arranged to spend the last three weeks before Easter at Stanfield, and to go down there immediately upon leaving Lambeth. He determined not to go to Great Keynes first, or to see Isabel, lest his resolution should be weakened. Already, he thought, his motives were sufficiently mixed and perverted without his further aggravating their earthly constituents.

He wrote to his sister, however, telling her of his decision to leave Lambeth; and adding that he was going to stay with a friend until Easter, when he hoped to return to the Dower House, and take up his abode there for the present. He received what he thought a very strange letter in return, written apparently under excitement strongly restrained. He read in it a very real affection for himself, but a certain reserve in it too, and even something of compassion; and there was a sentence in it that above all others astonished him.

"J. M. has been here, and is now gone to Douai. Oh! dear brother, some time no doubt you will tell us all. I feel so certain that there is much to explain."

Had she then guessed his part in the priest's release? Anthony wondered; but at any rate he knew, after his promise to the Queen, that he must not give her any clue. He was also surprised to hear that James had been to Great Keynes. He had inquired for him at the Tower on the Monday after his visit to Greenwich, and had heard that Mr. Maxwell was already gone out of England. He had not then troubled to write again, as he had no doubt but that his message to Lady Maxwell, which he had sent in his note to Isabel, had reached her; and that certainly she, and probably James too, now knew that he had been an entirely unconscious and innocent instrument in the priest's arrest. But that note, as has been seen, never reached its destination. Lady Maxwell did not care to write to the betrayer of her son; and Isabel on the one hand hoped and believed now that there was some explanation, but on the other did not wish to ask for it again, since her first request had been met by silence.

As the last days of his life at Lambeth were coming to an end, Anthony began to send off his belongings on pack-horses to Great Keynes; and by the time that the Saturday before Mid-Lent Sunday arrived, on which he was to leave, all had gone except his own couple of horses and the bags containing his personal luggage.

His last interview with the Archbishop affected him very greatly.

He found the old man waiting for him, walking up and down Cranmer's parlour in an empty part of the room, where there was no danger of his falling. He peered anxiously at Anthony as he entered.

"Mr. Norris," he said, "you are greatly on my mind. I fear I have not done my duty to you. My God has taken away the great charge he called me to years ago, to see if I were fit or not for the smaller charge of mine own household, and not even that have I ruled well."

Anthony was deeply moved.

"My lord," he said, "if I may speak plainly to you, I would say that to my mind the strongest argument for the Church of England is that she brings forth piety and goodness such as I have seen here. If it were not for that, I should no longer be perplexed."

Grindal held up a deprecating hand.

"Do not speak so, Mr. Norris. That grieves me. However, I beseech you to forgive me for all my remissness towards you, and I wish to tell you that, whatever happens, you shall never cease to have an old man's prayers. You have been a good and courteous servant to me always-more than that, you have been my loving friend-I might almost say my son: and that, in a world that has cast me off and forgotten me, I shall not easily forget. God bless you, my dear son, and give you His light and grace."

When Anthony rode out of the gateway half an hour later, with his servant and luggage behind him, it was only with the greatest difficulty that he could keep from tears as he thought of the blind old man, living in loneliness and undeserved disgrace, whom he was leaving behind him.

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