The Altar Steps eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 477 pages of information about The Altar Steps.
sometimes to do more harm than good to the Movement.  Mark was shrewd enough to notice that however much he grumbled about his friend’s visit Mr. Ogilvie was sufficiently influenced by that visit to put into practice much of the advice to which he had taken exception.  The influence of Dorward upon Mark did not stop with his begetting in him an appreciation of the value of form in worship.  When Mark told Mr. Ogilvie that he intended to become a priest, Mr. Ogilvie was impressed by the manifestation of the Divine Grace, but he did not offer many practical suggestions for Mark’s immediate future.  Dorward on the contrary attached as much importance to the manner in which he was to become a priest.

“Oxford,” Mr. Dorward pronounced.  “And then Glastonbury.”


“Glastonbury Theological College.”

Now to Mark Oxford was a legendary place to which before he met Mr. Dorward he would never have aspired.  Oxford at Haverton House was merely an abstraction to which a certain number of people offered an illogical allegiance in order to create an excuse for argument and strife.  Sometimes Mark had gazed at Eton and wondered vaguely about existence there; sometimes he had gazed at the towers of Windsor and wondered what the Queen ate for breakfast.  Oxford was far more remote than either of these, and yet when Mr. Dorward said that he must go there his heart leapt as if to some recognized ambition long ago buried and now abruptly resuscitated.

“I’ve always been Oxford,” he admitted.

When Mr. Dorward had gone, Mark asked Mr. Ogilvie what he thought about Oxford.

“If you can afford to go there, my dear boy, of course you ought to go.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure I can’t afford to.  I don’t think I’ve got any money at all.  My mother left some money, but my uncle says that that will come in useful when I’m articled to this solicitor, Mr. Hitchcock.  Oh, but if I become a priest I can’t become a solicitor, and perhaps I could have that money.  I don’t know how much it is . . .  I think five hundred pounds.  Would that be enough?”

“With care and economy,” said Mr. Ogilvie.  “And you might win a scholarship.”

“But I’m leaving school at the end of this year.”

Mr. Ogilvie thought that it would be wiser not to say anything to his uncle until after Mark had been confirmed.  He advised him to work hard meanwhile and to keep in mind the possibility of having to win a scholarship.

The confirmation was held on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin.  Mark made his first Confession on the vigil, his first Communion on the following Sunday.



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The Altar Steps from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.