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A PARISH OF TWO
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The meeting-house is older than the oldest coat-of-arms in Newport, and there are children here whose great-grandfathers are living in the same street. How such propinquity of lineage would upset ancestral pretensions amongst many of your dailysociety-news-chronicled friends! What would you think of a village community, where one of the half-dozen most prominent men in it was not asked out to dinner

for twelve months at a stretch? Such an

one am I, both as to the prominence and to the unaskedness!

I never had anything of the priest about me, thank Heaven, but at twenty-two I was an enthusiast, and I jumped into this little ecclesiastical pool of monotony and began a terrible splashing. I became a sort of doer of good in a white tie, without much thought, to tell the truth, of the parsonical restraints and dignities. I felt myself to be no more of a priest than any man in the pews in front of me on Sundays, only, if they preferred my enthusiastic and youthful talking - thundering it was at times

I took a salary — small — and they got what they wanted. They were curiosities

what a series of diurnal surprises I must have been to them in those days! I was the barbarous, rollicking young West, and they the East.

to me

“ The brooding East with awe beheld

Her impious younger world
The Roman tempest swelled and swelled,

And on her head was hurled.

• The East bowed low before the blast,

In patient, deep disdain ;
She let the legions thunder past

And plunged in thought again.”

I wonder if you will mind if I write you a line or so of “shop” just here, for I think you civilians are prone to lump things, and to fail to make distinctions in the coteries outside your own. You know there are two classes of parsons: the lay parsons and the ecclesiastical parsons.

The ecclesiastical parsons are the fellows who go in for being the Church, and the lay parsons are the fellows who look upon the Church as a branch of the ethical civil service of the world, and who go in for helping the Church. The first lot are all Papists, no matter whether they be Baptists or Episcopalians; the latter are all Protestants, no matter whether they be Unitarians or Broad Churchmen. The former all hold, in secret or openly, to that abominable doctrine which makes the minister personam ecclesiae gerere, the latter conceive of their position as having no more privileges, and no severer restraints than those incumbent

upon any other honourable God-fearing man. The one claims to have received his

commission from some mysterious extra and supra mundane power of tactual succession — whatever in the realm of physical law that may mean —

and the other wears his uniform, if he wears any at all, as a volunteer officer in a particular, distinguished, and highly honourable branch of the service of the world. The one chatters his gibberish about “once a priest always a priest; and the other holds, just as you might, to nothing more than once a man always a man, and claims the standard to be as high for

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you, as for him.

But, merciful heavens! having just read over what I have written, I am dismayed at the thought of your reading it. You must look upon me as a charity! A crippled parson in a country parish in Massachusetts, who can now only read and write, surely you will waft more epigrams my way. All your talk about “women,” and Hell,” and “

cigarettes and “hansom cabs" and trussed coachmen there is not a man in livery in this town, is like burning a pastille in my room. Hot, sweet, Khayyamish as though a houri should be found sawing wood in the back yard. At forty, with a past of rowing, riding, swimming, sailing, football, sparring, a duel or two in Germany, a mountain sheep in the Rockies, and such huge pleasure in these physical activities, – at forty, to be told a wheel-chair, possibly, with luck, crutches, for the future, is a shock so unexpected that one hardly gauges the severity of it at once. I appreciate your kindness in writing me as though nothing had happened. No doubt I shall complain enough as time goes on,

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