Father Payne eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Father Payne.

He was silent for a little, and then he said:  “I see it all so clearly, and yet of course it is in a sense inconceivable to me, because to my mind all the Churches have got a burden of belief which they can’t carry.  The Gospel is simple enough, and it is as much as I can do to live on those lines.  Besides, I don’t want to obey—­I want to obey as little as I can!  The ecclesiastical and the theological tradition is all a world of shadows to me.  I can’t be bound by the pious fancies of men who knew no science, and very little about evidence of any kind.  What I want is just a simple and beautiful principle of living, such as I feel thrills through the words of Christ.  The Prodigal Son—­that’s almost enough for me!  It is simplification that I want, and independence.  Of course I see that if that isn’t what a man wants, if he requires that something or someone should be infallible, then he does require a good deal of argument and information and history.  But though I don’t object to people who want all that, it isn’t what I am in search of.  I want as much strong emotion and as little system as I can get.  By emotion I don’t mean sentiment, but real motives for acting or not acting.  I want to hear someone saying, ‘Come up hither,’ and to see something in his face which makes me believe he sees something that I don’t see and that I wish to see.  I don’t feel that with Newman!  He is fifty times better than myself, but I couldn’t do the thing in his way, though I love him with all my heart:  it’s a quiet sort of brotherhood that I want, and not too many rules.  In fact, it is laws I want, and not rules, and to feel the laws rather than to know them, I can’t help feeling that Newman spent too much of his time in the law-court, pleading and arguing:  and it’s stuffy in there!  But he will remain for ever one of those figures whom the world will love, because it can pity him as well as admire him.  Newman goes to one’s head, you know, or to one’s heart!  And I expect that it was exactly what he wanted to do all the time!”

XLVI

OF AFFECTION

Father Payne, on our walks, invariably stopped and spoke to animals.  I will not say that animals were always fond of him, because that is a privilege confined to saints, and heroes of romantic legends.  But they generally responded to his advances.  It used to amuse me to hear the way he used to talk to animals.  He would stop to whistle to a caged bird:  “You like your little prison, don’t you, sweet?” he would say.  Or he would apostrophise a cat, “Well, Ma’am, you must find it wearing to carry on your expeditions all night, and to live the life of a domestic saint all day?” I asked him once why he did not keep a dog, when he was so fond of animals.  “Oh, I couldn’t,” he said; “it is so dreadful when dogs get old and ill, and when they die!  It’s sentiment, too; and I can’t afford to multiply emotions—­there

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Father Payne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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