“I should think there was less of outward temptation, but more of subtle trial. And then the whole system has altered since the times you are speaking of, when the old rules prevailed, and the great giants of Church renewal were there!” said Geraldine.
“You belong to the generation whom they trained, and who are now passing away. My father was one who grew up then.”
“We live on their spirit still.”
“I hope so. I never knew much about Cambridge till Clement went there, but it had the same influence on him. Indeed, all our home had that one thought ever since I can remember. Clement and Lance grew up in it.”
“But you will forgive me. These younger men either go very, very much further than we older ones dreamt of, or they have flaws in their faith, and sometimes-which is the strangest difficulty-the vehement observance and ritual with flaws beneath in their faith perhaps, or their loyalty-Socialist fancies.”
“There is impatience,” said Geraldine. “The Church progress has not conquered all the guilt and misery in the world.”
“Who said it would?”
“None of us; but these younger ones fancy it is the Church’s fault, instead of that of her members’ failures, and so they try to walk in the light of the sparks that they have kindled.”
“Altruism as they call it-love of the neighbour without love of God.”
“It may lead that way.”
“Perhaps we are the impatient ones now,” said Geraldine, “in disliking the young ones’ experiments, and wanting to bind them to our own views.”
“Then you look on with toleration but with distrust.”
“Distrust of myself as well as of the young ones, and trying not to forget that ‘one good custom may corrupt the world,’ so it may be as well that the pendulum should swing.”
“The pendulum, but not its axis-faith!”
“No; and of my boy’s mainspring of faith I do feel sure, and of his real upright steadiness.”
Lady Merrifield asked no more, but could wait.
But is not each generation a terra incognita to the last? A question which those feel most decidedly who stand on the border-land of both, with love and sympathy divided between the old and the new, clinging to the one, and fearing to alienate the other.
CHAPTER XIV. BUTTERFLY’S NECTAR
If you heed my warning
It will save you much.-A. A. Proctor.
Clement Underwood was so much better as to be arrived at taking solitary rides and walks, these suiting him better than having companions, as he liked to go his own pace, and preferred silence. His sister had become much engrossed with her painting, and saw likewise that in this matter of exercise it was better to let him go his own way, and he declared that this time of thought and reading was an immense help to him, restoring that balance of life which he seemed to himself to have lost in the whirl of duties at St. Matthew’s after Felix’s death.