The Altar Steps eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 477 pages of information about The Altar Steps.

    Those who plan some evil
      From their sin restrain.

Yes, but prayers were not always answered immediately.  For instance he was still awake.  He hurried on to murmur aloud in fervour: 

    Through the long night watches
      May Thine Angels spread
    Their white wings above me,
      Watching round my bed.

A delicious idea, and even more delicious was the picture contained in the next verse.

    When the morning wakens,
      Then may I arise
    Pure, and fresh, and sinless
      In Thy Holy Eyes.

    Glory to the Father,
      Glory to the Son,
    And to thee, blest Spirit,
      Whilst all ages run.  Amen.

Mark murmured the last verse with special reverence in the hope that by doing so he should obtain a speedy granting of the various requests in the earlier part of the hymn.

In the morning his mother put out Sunday clothes for him.

“The Bishop is coming to-day,” she explained.

“But it isn’t going to be like Sunday?” Mark inquired anxiously.  An extra Sunday on top of such a night would have been hard to bear.

“No, but I want you to look nice.”

“I can play with my soldiers?”

“Oh, yes, you can play with your soldiers.”

“I won’t bang, I’ll only have them marching.”

“No, dearest, don’t bang.  And when the Bishop comes to lunch I want you not to ask questions.  Will you promise me that?”

“Don’t bishops like to be asked questions?”

“No, darling.  They don’t.”

Mark registered this episcopal distaste in his memory beside other facts such as that cats object to having their tails pulled.



In the year 1875, when the strife of ecclesiastical parties was bitter and continuous, the Reverend James Lidderdale came as curate to the large parish of St. Simon’s, Notting Hill, which at that period was looked upon as one of the chief expositions of what Disraeli called “man-millinery.”  Inasmuch as the coiner of the phrase was a Jew, the priests and people of St. Simon’s paid no attention to it, and were proud to consider themselves an outpost of the Catholic Movement in the Church of England.  James Lidderdale was given the charge of the Lima Street Mission, a tabernacle of corrugated iron dedicated to St. Wilfred; and Thurston, the Vicar of St. Simon’s, who was a wise, generous and single-hearted priest, was quick to recognize that his missioner was capable of being left to convert the Notting Dale slum in his own way.

“If St. Simon’s is an outpost of the Movement, Lidderdale must be one of the vedettes,” he used to declare with a grin.

Project Gutenberg
The Altar Steps from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.