Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh: Ch. 83

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At these words Christina brightened.  “You give me hope, you give me hope,” she cried, and dried her eyes.  She made him assure her over and over again that this was his solemn conviction; she did not care about being a distinguished saint now; she would be quite content to be among the meanest who actually got into heaven, provided she could make sure of escaping that awful Hell.  The fear of this evidently was omnipresent with her, and in spite of all Ernest could say he did not quite dispel it.  She was rather ungrateful, I must confess, for after more than an hour’s consolation from Ernest she prayed for him that he might have every blessing in this world, inasmuch as she always feared that he was the only one of her children whom she should never meet in heaven; but she was then wandering, and was hardly aware of his presence; her mind in fact was reverting to states in which it had been before her illness.

On Sunday Ernest went to church as a matter of course, and noted that the ever receding tide of Evangelicalism had ebbed many a stage lower, even during the few years of his absence.  His father used to walk to the church through the Rectory garden, and across a small intervening field.  He had been used to walk in a tall hat, his Master’s gown, and wearing a pair of Geneva bands.  Ernest noticed that the bands were worn no longer, and lo! greater marvel still, Theobald did not preach in his Master’s gown, but in a surplice.  The whole character of the service was changed; you could not say it was high even now, for high-church Theobald could never under any circumstances become, but the old easy-going slovenliness, if I may say so, was gone for ever.  The orchestral accompaniments to the hymns had disappeared while my hero was yet a boy, but there had been no chanting for some years after the harmonium had been introduced.  While Ernest was at Cambridge, Charlotte and Christina had prevailed on Theobald to allow the canticles to be sung; and sung they were to old-fashioned double chants by Lord Mornington and Dr Dupuis and others.  Theobald did not like it, but he did it, or allowed it to be done.

Then Christina said: “My dear, do you know, I really think” (Christina always “really” thought) “that the people like the chanting very much, and that it will be a means of bringing many to church who have stayed away hitherto.  I was talking about it to Mrs Goodhew and to old Miss Wright only yesterday, and they quite agreed with me, but they all said that we ought to chant the ‘Glory be to the Father’ at the end of each of the psalms instead of saying it.”

Theobald looked black—he felt the waters of chanting rising higher and higher upon him inch by inch; but he felt also, he knew not why, that he had better yield than fight.  So he ordered the “Glory be to the Father” to be chanted in future, but he did not like it.

“Really, mamma dear,” said Charlotte, when the battle was won, “you should not call it the ‘Glory be to the Father’ you should say ‘Gloria.’”

“Of course, my dear,” said Christina, and she said “Gloria” for ever after.  Then she thought what a wonderfully clever girl Charlotte was, and how she ought to marry no one lower than a bishop.  By-and-by when Theobald went away for an unusually long holiday one summer, he could find no one but a rather high-church clergyman to take his duty.  This gentleman was a man of weight in the neighbourhood, having considerable private means, but without preferment.  In the summer he would often help his brother clergymen, and it was through his being willing to take the duty at Battersby for a few Sundays that Theobald had been able to get away for so long.  On his return, however, he found that the whole psalms were being chanted as well as the Glorias.  The influential clergyman, Christina, and Charlotte took the bull by the horns as soon as Theobald returned, and laughed it all off; and the clergyman laughed and bounced, and Christina laughed and coaxed, and Charlotte uttered unexceptionable sentiments, and the thing was done now, and could not be undone, and it was no use grieving over spilt milk; so henceforth the psalms were to be chanted, but Theobald grisled over it in his heart, and he did not like it.