“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.”
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