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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 384 pages of information about The Altar Steps.
outing so that the money spent on them might be added to the fund.  When the Bishop of Silchester came here last week for Confirmation he asked Father Rowley what that altar was.
“That is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said.  But when Father Rowley told him about the poor people and the old women who had no money of their own, he said:  “That is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.”
I am beginning to write as if it was necessary to convince you of the necessity of making the Blessed Sacrament the central feature of the religious life to-day and for ever until the end of the world.  But, I know you won’t think I’m doing anything of the kind, for really I am only trying to show you how much my faith has been strengthened and how much my outlook has deepened and how much more than ever I long to be a priest to be able to give poor people Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

     Your ever affectionate

     Mark.

CHAPTER XVII

THE DRUNKEN PRIEST

Gradually, Mark found to his pleasure and his pride that he was becoming, if not indispensable to Father Rowley (the Missioner found no human being indispensable) at any rate quite evidently useful.  Perhaps Father Rowley though that in allowing himself to rely considerably upon Mark’s secretarial talent he was indulging himself in a luxury to which he was not entitled.  That was Father Rowley’s way.  The moment he discovered himself enjoying anything too much, whether it was a cigar or a secretary, he cut himself off from it, and this not in any spirit of mortification for mortification’s sake, but because he dreaded the possibility of putting the slightest drag upon his freedom to criticize others.  He had no doubt at all in his own mind that he was perfectly justified in making use of Mark’s intelligence and energy.  But in a place like the Mission House, where everybody from lay helper to casual guest was supposed to stand on his own feet, the Missioner himself felt that he must offer an example of independence.

“You’re spoiling me, Mark Anthony,” he said one day.  “There’s nothing for me to do this evening.”

“I know,” Mark agreed contentedly.  “I want to give you a rest for once.”

“Rest?” the priest echoed.  “You don’t seriously expect a fat man like me to sit down in an armchair and rest, do you?  Besides, you’ve got your own reading to do, and you didn’t come to Chatsea as my punkah walla.”

Mark insisted that he was getting along in his own way quite fast enough, and that he had plenty of time on his hands to keep Father Rowley’s correspondence in some kind of order.

“All these other people have any amount to do,” said Mark.  “Cartwright has his boys every evening and Warrender has his men.”

“And Mark Anthony has nothing but a fat, poverty-stricken, slothful mission priest,” Father Rowley gurgled.

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