“Oh dear no! Nobody supposes for a moment that the English Church will follow the Irish Establishment. In the whole great universe of shammery and flummery there is no such idea floating. Everybody knows that the Church of England as an endowed establishment is doomed, and would be, even if its hand were not perpetually hacking at its own throat; but as was observed of an old lady in gloves in one of my Christmas books, ‘Let us be polite or die!’
“Anthony’s ambition” [in becoming a candidate for Beverley] “is inscrutable to me. Still, it is the ambition of many men; and the honester the man who entertains it, the better for the rest of us, I suppose.
“Ever, my dear Trollope,
“Most cordially yours,
* * * * *
Here is another “growl,” provoked by a species of charlatan, which he, to whom all charlatans were odious, especially abominated—the pietistic charlatan:—
* * * * *
“Oh, we have such a specimen here! a man who discourses extemporaneously, positively without the power of constructing one grammatical sentence; but who is (ungrammatically) deep in Heaven’s confidence on the abstrusest points, and discloses some of his private information with an idiotic complacency insupportable to behold.
“We are going to have a bad winter in England too probably. What with Ireland, and what with the last new Government device of getting in the taxes before they are due, and what with vagrants, and what with fever, the prospect is gloomy.”
The last letter I ever received from him is dated the 10th of November, 1869. It is a long letter, but I will give only one passage from it, which has, alas! a peculiarly sad and touching significance when read with the remembrance of the catastrophe then hurrying on, which was to put an end to all projects and purposes. I had been suggesting a walking excursion across the Alps. He writes:—
“Walk across the Alps? Lord bless you, I am ‘going’ to take up my alpenstock and cross all the passes. And, I am ‘going’ to Italy. I am also ‘going’ up the Nile to the second cataract; and I am ‘going’ to Jerusalem, and to India, and likewise to Australia. My only dimness of perception in this wise is, that I don’t know when. If I did but know when, I should be so wonderfully clear about it all! At present I can’t see even so much as the Simplon in consequence of certain farewell readings and a certain new book (just begun) interposing their dwarfish shadow. But whenever (if ever) I change ‘going’ into ‘coming,’ I shall come to see you.
“With kind regards, ever, my dear Trollope,
“Your affectionate friend,
* * * * *
And those were the last words I ever had from him!