Father Payne eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Father Payne.
Finance, and that is what makes it so infernally dull.  You want more teachers and better teachers; you want to make teaching a profession which attracts the best people.  You can’t do that without money, and at present education is looked upon as an expensive luxury.  That’s all part of the stodgy Anglo-Saxon mind.  It doesn’t want ideas—­it wants positions which, carry high salaries; and really the one thing which blocks the way in all our education is that we care so much for money and property, and can’t think of happiness apart from them.  As long as our real aim in England is income, we shall not make progress; because we persist in thinking of ideas as luxuries in which a man can indulge if he has a sufficient income to afford to do so.”

“You take a gloomy view of our national ideals, Father,” said Vincent.

“Not a gloomy view, my boy,” said Father Payne; “only a dull view!  We are a respectable nation—­we adore respectability; and I don’t think it is a sympathetic quality.  What I want is more sympathy and more imagination.  I think they lead to happiness; and I don’t think the Anglo-Saxon cares enough about happiness; if he is happy, he has an uneasy idea that he is in for a disaster of some kind.”

XLII

OF RELIGION

I found Father Payne one morning reading a letter with knitted brows.  Presently he cast it down on the table with a gesture of annoyance.  “What a fool one is to argue!” he said—­and then stopping, he said, “But you wanted something—­what is it?” It was a question about some books which was soon answered.  Then he said:  “Stay a few minutes, won’t you, unless you are pressed?  I have got a tiresome letter, and if you will let me pour out my complaint to you, I shall be all right—­otherwise I shall go about grumbling and muttering all day, and inventing repartees.”

I sate down in a chair.  “Yes, do tell me!” I said; “I have really very little to do this morning, but finish up a bit of work.”

He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye.  “I expect you ought to be at work,” he said, “and if I were conscientious, I should send you away—­but this is rather interesting, I think.”

He meditated for a moment, and then went on.  “It’s this!  I have got involved in an argument with an old friend of mine who is a stiff sort of High-Churchman—­a parson.  It’s about religion, too, and it’s no good arguing about religion.  You only confirm your adversary in his opinion.  He brings forth the bow, and makes ready the arrows within the quiver.  I needn’t go into the argument.  It’s the old story.  He objected to something I said as ‘vague,’ and I was ass enough to answer him.  He is one of those people who is very strong on dogma, and treats his religion as if it were a sort of trades’ union.  He thinks I am a kind of blackleg, not true to my principles; or rather he thinks that I am not a Christian at all, and only call myself one

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Father Payne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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