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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Father Payne.
a gleam of gold in the bed of the stream—­some splendid, deep, fine thought.  I follow it out; I think how it has appeared in my own life, or in the lives of other people—­it bears me away on its wings, I pray about it, I hope to be more like that—­and so on.  Sometimes it is a sharp revelation of something ugly and perverse in my own nature—­I don’t dwell long on that, but I see in imagination how it is likely to trouble me, and I hope that it will not delude me again; because these evil things delude one, they call noxious tricks by fine names.  I say to myself, ’What you pretend is self-respect, or consistency, is really irritable vanity or stupid unimaginativeness.’  But it is a mistake, I think, to dwell long on one’s deficiencies:  what one has got to do is to fill one’s life full of positive, active, beautiful things, until there is no room for the ugly intruders.  And, to put it shortly, a service makes me think about other people and about God; I fear it doesn’t make me contrite or sorrowful.  I don’t believe in any sort of self-pity, nor do I think one ought to cultivate shame; those things lie close to death, and it is life that I am in search of—­fulness of life.  Don’t let us bemoan ourselves, or think that a sign of grace!”

“But if you find yourself grubby, nasty, suspicious, irritable, isn’t it a good thing to rub it in sometimes?” I said.

“No, no,” said Father Payne, “life will do that hard enough.  Turn your back on it all, look at the beautiful things, leave a thief to catch a thief, and the dead to bury the dead.  Don’t sniff at the evil thing; go and get a breath of fresh air.”

XIII

OF NEWSPAPERS

Father Payne was a very irregular reader of the newspaper; he was not greedy of news, and he was incurious about events, while he disliked the way in which they were professionally dished up for human consumption.  At times, however, he would pore long and earnestly over a daily paper with knitted brows and sighs.  “You seem to be suffering a good deal over your paper to-day, Father!” said Barthrop once, regarding him with amusement.  Father Payne lifted up his head, and then broke into a smile.  “It’s all right, my boy!” he said.  “I don’t despair of the world itself, but I feel that if the average newspaper represents the mind of the average man, the human race is very feeble—­not worth saving!  This sort of thing”—­indicating the paper with a wave of his hand—­“makes me realise how many things there are that don’t interest me—­and I can’t get at them either through the medium of these writers’ minds.  They don’t seem to want simply to describe the facts, but to manipulate them; they try to make you uncomfortable about the future, and contented with the past.  It ought to be just the other way!  And then I ask myself, ’Ought I, as a normal human being, to be as one-sided, as submissive, as trivial, as sentimental as this?’ These vast

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