MANSON. Oh, warmer, warmer!
BISHOP. Very well then, to business! I tell you, candidly, I agree with you, that there is no necessity for sinking anything of our own in the concern: nothing ever comes of that sort of reckless generosity! If people want a church, let them make some sacrifice for it! Why should we do anything?
I am sure you will appreciate my candour?
MANSON. At its full value. Go on.
BISHOP. At the same time, there is no reason why we should throw cold water upon the project. On the contrary, we might promote it, encourage it, even lend it the influence of our patronage and our names. But on one understanding!
MANSON. And that?
BISHOP. That it is extended—imperialised, so to speak: that it is made the vehicle of a much vaster, of a much more momentous project behind it!
MANSON. You interest me intensely. Explain.
BISHOP. I will.
[He looks around to assure himself that they are alone.]
There is in existence a society, a very influential society, in which I happen to have an interest—very great interest. Hm! I am one of the directors.
I may say that it is already very well established, financially; but it is always open to consider the—extension of its influence in that way.
MANSON. And the name of the society?
BISHOP. Rather long, but I trust explicit. It is called “The Society for the Promotion and Preservation of Emoluments for the Higher Clergy.”
MANSON. I do not seem to have heard it named before.
BISHOP. Well, no: its movements have always been characterised by a certain modesty. It is an invisible society, so to speak; but I can assure you its principles are very clearly understood—among the parties most concerned.
MANSON. And your project?
BISHOP. Affiliate the subsidiary question of
the building of the
Church, with the larger interests of the Society.
MANSON. Yes, but since people have already refused to subscribe to the more trivial project . . .
BISHOP. They have not been properly approached. My dear sir, in order to awaken public generosity, It is necessary to act like men of the world: we must have names. People will subscribe to any amount, if you can only get the right names.
That Is where you come in.
MANSON. I! Do you propose to place my name at the head of your—prospectus?
BISHOP. My dear sir, invaluable! Didn’t you say yourself that you brought in numberless millions, on your own credit, out there in India? Why shouldn’t you do the same in England? Think of your reputation, your achievements, your name for sanctity— Not a word, sir: I mean it! . . . Why, there’s no end to the amount it would bring in: it would mean billions!