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Title: Lighter Moments from the Notebook of Bishop Walsham How
Author: How, Frederick Douglas, 1853-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lighter Moments from the Notebook of Bishop Walsham How" ***

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  First Edition, _March 1900_
  Reprinted, _April 1900_
  Reprinted, _May 1900_








  Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
  London & Edinburgh


On Christmas Day, 1891, my father presented me with his collection of
"Ecclesiastical Jottings," as he called them, having previously had them
handsomely bound in red leather. When he put them into my hands he
expressed a hope that I should some day make a little book of them. Up
to the time of his death he made frequent additions to the collection,
and I have now gathered most of his stories together in "a little book,"
according to his wishes.

To _read_ them is to lose so much; yet that is all that one can do now.
Half their humour seems to have gone with the sound of his voice, the
merry twinkle of his eye, and his own delight in them.

I cannot help hoping that they may serve to brighten the odd minutes of
some other lives spent, as his was, in many labours.

There are some people to whom apologies seem due.

First, to those to whom a large number of these stories are already
familiar. May I ask them to realise that the contents of this volume
have been so familiar to me that it has been almost impossible for me to
know which to throw away as chestnuts?

Secondly, I apologise to those whose appreciation of my father's
goodness and piety is so great that they shrink from the contemplation
of any other characteristics. To them I would, with great deference,
suggest that they are putting on one side a large and important part of
my father's character. No man, as I believe, walked more closely with
his God, but his influence owed much of its power to the fact that he
also walked in closest sympathy with men--sympathy not only with their
tears but with their laughter--sympathy which begot, as it generally
does, a keen sense of humour.

Thirdly, there are those who, possessing no sense of humour themselves,
are fearful lest it should appear derogatory to their stupendous
intellects to appreciate that gift in others. I was going to apologise
to these also--but, on the whole, I think I won't.

    F. D. H.

  _February 1900._


Bishop Walsham How was the happy possessor of a nature essentially
sunny. Deeply pious from his childhood onwards, his piety was neither of
that morose, narrow, gloomy description met with among some people, nor
was it of that gushing, uncertain, hysterical kind occasionally found
among others. He was happy because he was good. His simple joyous life
was a song of praise to his Creator, like that of a bright spring day.
He rejoiced in the Lord alway. No one who knew him could fail to be
struck with this all-pervading note in his character. No matter what the
anxiety, no matter what the trouble, he was always ready to turn his
face to the Sun and be gladdened by the Light.

A quality on a slightly lower level, but having its own part in helping
to sustain his sunniness of disposition, was his keen sense of humour.
He never could help seeing the funny side of things. A visit to some
dreary and neglected parish in East London would sadden him, but the
ready answer of a street boy, or the good story told him by a fellow
traveller in train or tram, would not fail to be appreciated, and would
give him something cheery to talk about when he got home.

Surely this sense of humour is in some way closely allied with the power
of sympathy. This is apparently true in the case of _men_. _Women_ must
be considered from a different point of view, for, while the world would
be but a poor place bereft of their sympathy, they have for the most
part but little sense of humour. Occasionally one meets with a supposed
exception, but even then one is liable to be deceived. It is natural to
all women to wish to please, and sometimes an apparently humorous
disposition is the result of consummate acting. A lady was staying with
a large house party at a country house, and gained a great reputation by
her power of telling amusing stories with a vast appreciation of their
fun. It was noticed that other people's stories were received by her
with remarkable gravity, and seldom called forth her laughter. This was
ascribed by some to jealousy, by others to a limited sense of humour. At
last the true explanation was forthcoming. An accident revealed the fact
that every story she heard was carefully noted, and entered afterwards
in a book, with the place and date where it was told. Hence the grave
attention with which she listened. It was not the fun that attracted
her, but the opportunity of adding to a store of anecdotes from which a
selection was carefully rehearsed day by day in her bedroom, to be let
off like a number of little set pieces for the amusement of the company
and her own glorification.

Bishop Walsham How entered most of the amusing incidents and stories he
met with in a notebook, but his sense of humour was very different from
that of the lady mentioned above. There was no lack of spontaneity. It
was part and parcel of himself, and he would never have been the man he
was, or had the influence he possessed, without it.

Although far more men than women seem to have this sense, yet every one
must be familiar with some few of those unfortunate people in whom it is
lacking. Let a man think of his schooldays. There were masters who
_understood_--who saw the joke underlying a breach of discipline; who
punished, indeed, but who did it with a twinkle in the eye which helped
to cure the smart. These were the men whom the boys trusted, just
because they felt that they were sure of sympathy. But there was
probably one at least among the staff, ponderous, dull, and worthy,
well-meaning, but a failure simply by reason of an entire lack of the
sense of humour. By dint of dogged perseverance he got certain facts
into the heads of his class, but he never succeeded in interesting them
in their work. He took boys out for a solemn walk, but never gained a
confidence. What was the good of talking to him? He never had been a
boy: he could not understand.

It is just the same in other professions. The clergyman with pale and
heavy features, who sees no fun in anything, may just as well stop at
home as go round from house to house with his awkward unsympathetic
questions. The children run away from him, their parents are simply
bored. The doctor or the lawyer loses touch with his clients when he is
unfortunate enough to be set down as a man who cannot see a joke.

In fact, the sense of humour is a real part of the power of conveying a
sense of sympathy. The sympathy _may_ be there in the dullest and
heaviest of men, but he has not the power of conveying it. One of Bishop
Walsham How's great delights was to share with others the amusement he
gleaned from day to day, and it was his wish that after his death some
of the stories that he collected should be published. Many of them he
frequently told, and they have been repeated from mouth to mouth till
they are well known, others were perhaps well known when he first heard
them. The following selection has been made with the hope of including
all the more original anecdotes, and it is hoped that they may have some
small share in keeping alive the memory of one whose sense of humour
helped to increase his wide-hearted sympathy for his fellow creatures.

    Many of the stories told by Bishop Walsham How centre round
    Whittington, the Shropshire parish of which he was Rector from
    1851 to 1879. In the early days of his residence there
    superstition was exceedingly rife. There is a note by the
    Bishop to this effect:

The prevalence of superstition in these enlightened days (as we call
them: how our great-grandchildren will laugh at us!) is most marvellous.
The following are in this parish generally approved and seriously
recommended remedies for the whooping-cough, popularly called the
"chin-cough": To be swung nine times under a donkey. To pass the patient
three times under and over a briar growing from a hedge, saying, "Over
the briar and under the briar, and leave the chin-cough behind."[1]
Anything recommended by a seventh son. (One woman cured several people,
she tells me, by sending them to meet a boatman who is a seventh son,
and to ask him what would cure them.) Anything recommended by a man on a
piebald horse. (I have been told of cures being thus effected by gin,
honey, cold water, and an ounce of tea taken wholly.)

[Footnote 1: This process I can remember undergoing at the hands of my
nurse in the garden of Whittington Rectory.--Ed.]

Soon after I came here [Whittington] an old neighbour, Kitty Williams,
was ill, and my wife was ill at the same time. In speaking of the
latter fact to an old woman who lived at the hamlet of Babies' Wood, she
said she hoped we were good to old Kitty, for she had an evil eye and
might have caused Mrs. How's illness. She then told me the following
story: When Kitty was young she lived in service near Whittington, but
was sent away for some misconduct, and after a time married Jonathan
Williams and came to live where I knew her. From the time she left her
place nothing prospered there. Cows died, horses went lame, and all went
wrong. So they consulted a wise woman, who told them to get a pair of
black horses with long tails and to drive them about till they stopped
of themselves, and then to give the first woman they saw whatever she
asked for. They did so; the horses stopped opposite Kitty's cottage
close by Whittington Rectory. Kitty came out, and they greeted their old
servant and asked what they should give her. She chose a shawl, so they
went to Oswestry and bought her one, after which all things prospered
with them. This was told me with the seriousness of profound belief.[2]

[Footnote 2: The following facts may throw some light on the horses
stopping at that exact spot. First, they were probably hearse horses;
secondly, there is a public-house on the other side of the road.--Ed.]

    Scarcely less curious were many of the phrases and sayings which
    he came across in visiting the old inhabitants of the parish.
    Here are a few which found a place in his notebook:

A woman from whom I was making some inquiry concerning a neighbour
answered me, "I really can't tell you, sir, for I've not much confection
of cheerfulness with my neighbours."

Another woman, who had been ill, described herself to me as being "as
thin as a halfpenny herring."

A poor woman in the parish, speaking to me of the wonders of the
heavens, expressed her astonishment at the sun rising in the east,
whereas it set in the west. "I suppose," she said, "it gets back in the
night when it is dark."

The following words are given verbatim as spoken by an old woman in the
parish on the occasion of my first visit soon after I became Rector.
"The old man and me never go to bed, sir, without singing the Evening
Hymn. Not that I've got any voice left, for I haven't; and as for him,
he's like a bee in a bottle; and then he don't humour the tune, for he
don't rightly know one tune from another, and he can't remember the
words neither; so when he leaves out a word I puts it in, and when I
can't sing I dances, and so we gets through it somehow."

    Queer letters, too, find a place among the other curiosities of
    Whittington. Mrs. How received the following remarkable epistle
    about a poor woman who had been sent to a lady in Oswestry.
    There is not a stop in the letter from beginning to end:

I am sorry to send to you Ellen Morris which her his heavy afflicted
with the favor on the brain which her is not fit to get her living and
her did go to Mrs. G---- and I did write a note to go to her and her
said if her had a note from a clergyman her would give her 2 6
[two-and-six] what does it matter who write a note for a person when
they are in distress people that can write a note and tell the truth
which her has got a pair of boots in a shoemaker's shop which her
cannot get them out without two shilling and her his very near barefoot
and I hope you will bestow your charity this once for my sake and yours
what we give to the poor we never shall want which I do give her what I
can give her and God will bless us all that will give with a good free
willing heart my dear Mrs. How which I hope you will bestow you are a
very good to the poor and it his a great charity to give to this poor
woman yours truly Mrs. D---- which her does beg her living from one or
another and her does do very well considering.

    The above is the complete letter, no date, and no other word of
    any sort. Vicarious begging letters are not unknown to the
    police of our big towns, but the scribe who could not do better
    than the above would have small chance of employment. A modern
    London begging letter is often a work of fine art.

    A further note on a curious letter tells how, in December 1875,
    a good widow in the village received a proposal from a man she
    had never spoken to, couched in the following terms:

Dear Friend, I am a widower with two little girls, and I want some one
to take care of them. I think we could live very comfortably together in
this world, & afterwards we could rejoin those we have loved who have
gone before. If you accept this, please write & say so on the other side
of this sheet. If not, please return this letter, & dont make it

[Footnote 3: Proposal declined.--Ed]

    The famous and eccentric Jack Mytton lived at Halston, a country
    house in the parish of Whittington, not very long before Bishop
    Walsham How went there as Rector. Some of the old servants from
    that house were still living in the village, and wonderful were
    the stories that they told. One would relate how he was
    compelled to go out on a snowy night and crawl over the ice to
    shoot wild ducks with his master, _dressed only in his
    nightshirt_. Another told how, after Jack Mytton's famous
    roasting match against a professional roaster in Shrewsbury, his
    master called for him in his carriage on his way home, and drove
    him up to Halston that he might _scrape_ him where he was burnt.
    Happily such days were over before 1850, and no doubt the
    stories of these old servants lost nothing in the telling. One
    of the last to survive was the subject of the following passage
    in the notebook:

Mrs. J----, formerly housekeeper at Halston in Mr. Mytton's time, has
long been a sufferer from asthma. She lost a sister, and in speaking of
arrangements for the funeral told me she had a vault made for four, in
which three, including her own husband, had been already buried, and
that she wished her sister to have the fourth place. When I said,
"Surely, that is meant for yourself," she answered, "No, I never could
breathe in a vault. I must have fresh air. She shall have it, and I'll
be buried in the open ground, if you please."

    While speaking of Halston a good story may find a place
    concerning the gentleman who owned the property in Bishop
    Walsham How's time.

One of my curates, in walking down from Frankton, fell in with a man
who startled him by saying what a pity it was that the owner of Halston
was not a better man. On being asked what he meant, the man said that no
good man would do as was being done on that property, and build cottages
in pairs or close together. My curate asked why not, and the man said,
"Because it is written 'Thou shalt not add house to house'"; and, on my
curate explaining the true meaning to him, he repudiated it entirely,
and said he had no doubt the thing was condemned in the Bible because
next-door neighbours always quarrel.

    Here is an account of a curious interview the Rector had with a
    local stonemason. Probably the spread of education would make
    such a thing impossible to-day.

A stonemason one day brought a stone to put into the churchyard, with a
verse on it in which occurred the line--

  Till life's brief span be ended.

I had given no permission for this, and make a rule of refusing to allow
poetical effusions upon tombstones. However, the mason had omitted the
's' after "life," so I was able to remonstrate with him, and told him
that if he had sent me his epitaph beforehand I could at least have
saved him from making ridiculous mistakes. He was quite incredulous, and
asked me to point out the mistake. When I did so he put his head on one
side, and, after contemplating the stone for some moments, said, "Now
_I_ should say, if you were to put an 's' in that line, it would come in
better after 'brief.'"

    Some anecdotes relating to pastoral visits occur here and there
    in the notebooks. The following story is interesting as
    illustrating the fact that it does not always do to trust to
    first impressions.

I was visiting on his death bed an old man in the village called John
Richards, and one day found a very rough-looking fellow sitting by the
head of his bed with his hands in his pockets, and his legs stretched
out, so I asked him if he was the old man's son, to which he answered
with a rough "Yes." I then asked him where he lived, and he answered in
the same insolent tone, "Manchester." So, thinking he was not a
pleasant specimen of Manchester manners, I took no further notice of
him, but read and prayed with his father as if he were not there, he
sitting in the same irreverent attitude all the time. Just as I was
going he said abruptly, "I'll tell ye something." "Well," I said, "what
is it?" "I had a mate once," he said, "down with the small-pox, uncommon
bad, black as your hat. 'John,' he says to me, 'fetch me a minister.' So
I went for one of these Chapel ministers, and I says to him, 'Come along
o' me, I've got a mate bad.' So he came. So when we got to the house,
before we went up, I says, 'You don't know what's the matter with him?'
and he says, 'No, what is it?' 'Small-pox,' I said, 'as black as your
hat.' And what do you think he did?" "I don't know," I said. "Why, run
away!" he said, breaking into a loud laugh. I thought this was the end
of the story, and that it was meant as a hit at all ministers, but he
went on, "I warn't to be done that way, so next I goes for a Church
minister, and I says to him, 'Come along o' me, I've got a mate bad.'
And _he_ came. Well, when we got to the foot of the stairs I says to him
just like t'other one, 'You don't know what's the matter with him?' and
he says, 'No, what is it?' So I says again, 'Small-pox as black as your
hat.' Well, what do you think this chap did?" "Not run away, I hope," I
answered. "No," he shouted in the most defiant way, "No, he walked
straight up to the bedside and prayed with him just like you've done
with my father." So I found that my rough and defiant friend was all the
time paying me a compliment. But it was the most pugnacious bit of
friendship I ever encountered.

    No one who knew the Bishop and his wide-hearted sympathy would
    think for a moment that he told this story to contrast the
    ministers of various denominations. That was not the point. The
    fun lay in the man's manner. Might it not be fair to suggest
    that possibly the one minister had been vaccinated while the
    other was a "conscientious objector" arrived before his time?
    Here is another story of pastoral visitation:

A woman in a small Welsh farmhouse [Whittington is on the border of
Wales] being taken very ill, a neighbour went for the clergyman, who
said he would come directly. The neighbour going back to the farmhouse
said they had better get out a Bible, as the parson might ask for one.
The farmer thereupon told the woman she would find one, he thought, at
the bottom of an old chest, "for thank goodness," he added, "we have had
no occasion for them sort of books for many a long year--never since the
old cow was so bad."

    Talking of family Bibles, when Bishop Walsham How was Rector of
    Whittington he copied the following list from the entries in the
    family Bible of some people called Turner. The names are those
    of the twelve children of the family:

    1. Turnerina de Margaret.
    2. Turnerannah de Mary Elizabeth.
    3. Alfred Fitz Cawley de Walker.
    4. Bernard de Belton.
    5. Cornelius la Compston.
    6. Turnerica Henrica Ulrica da Gloria de Lavinia Rebekah.
    7. John de Hillgreave.
    8. Eignah de George Turner Jones.
    9. Fighonghangal o Temardugh Hope de Hindley.
    10. Turnwell William ap Owen de Pringle.
    11. Turnerietta de Johannah Jane de Faith.
    12. Faithful Thomas.

    Surely the father who invented these names was a born humorist!
    It must have been the father, for no mother would have permitted
    her children to be thus bedizened with absurd appellations if it
    had not been that her lack of humour failed to see the fun of
    her husband's gorgeous caricature of the "upper ten."

    It has often been said that the power of recognising an object
    when represented in a picture is not natural but acquired. The
    following story of one of the "Old Men's Dinners" at Whittington
    Rectory goes to show that in the early days of photography the
    rustic population had difficulty in discerning the portraits
    somewhat dimly shadowed forth on the old-fashioned glass and
    metal plates.

I always have a dinner of from twenty to thirty of the oldest men of
the parish on New Year's day, and on one of these occasions I was
displaying to my guests a photograph of two old men who had long worked
at the Rectory, and who were taken in their working clothes, one with a
spade, and the other holding a little tree as if about to plant it. A
very deaf old man, Richard Jones, took it in his hand, and looking at it
said, "Beautiful! Beautiful!" So I shouted, "Who are they, Richard?"
"Why," he said, "it's Abraham offering up Isaac, to be sure!" I tried to
undeceive him, and, as the old men who had been photographed were
sitting opposite to him, I said, "You'll see them before you if you will
look up." But all I could get was a serene smile, "Yes, yes, I sees 'em
before me--by faith."

    The Rector of Whittington was blessed with a succession of
    valuable curates, who for the most part became his close
    personal friends, and he was also on the most friendly terms
    with the clergy of the neighbouring parishes. Concerning his
    curates or his neighbours, he would now and then note an amusing
    incident, some of which must find a place here while we are
    dealing with his Whittington career.

When the curacy of Whittington was vacant on one occasion I had an
application from a young clergyman who sent me a sermon on Baptism,
which he had preached in his last parish, thinking that I should like to
see what his doctrine was. However, his opinion on every controverted
point was studiously concealed. I have, nevertheless, preserved one
passage, the doctrine of which is interesting. It ran as follows: "In
the East baptism was frequently practised by immersion, but in a cold
climate like ours, where we apply water only to the face and hands, such
a practice would be injurious to the health."

A very shy, nervous curate of mine had to take the service alone here
one Sunday morning soon after his ordination. There were banns of
marriage for two couples to give out, the first being for the third time
of asking, and the second for the first. After reading out the four
names he paused, turned very red, and astounded the congregation by
adding, "The first are last and the last first."

When the house, in which a curate of mine lodged, changed hands, the new
landlady agreed to pay the old one £10 for the curate. He complained to
us that, having been paid for, he could not leave, however uncomfortable
he might be. Shortly afterwards the new landlady told him that she had
not paid the £10 and could not do so, so he paid it for her, thus paying
his own valuation!

A neighbour of mine, a clergyman, who had a great dislike of
discouraging little children, was one day examining a class, and asked
how many sons Noah had. "Four," a little girl answered. "Ah! yes," he
said, "perhaps, but one died young." He next asked what their names
were. "Adam," suggested a small child. "Yes, my child," he said, "that
would doubtless be the one that died young."

An Irish curate in Oswestry quoted in his sermon "the deaf adder that
stoppeth her ears," and, being suddenly struck with the physical
difficulties of the process, he paused a moment, and then proceeded.
"How does she stop her ears? I suppose, my friends, she must clap one
ear on the ground and stick her tail in the other." Curiously enough I
see that Brunetto Latini, in his "Booke of Beastes," relates this as a
fact in natural history. Latini was contemporary with Dante, and a
great naturalist, but of the inventive sort.

    The following story will be recognised by many, in spite of the
    absence of names. When we were children it was one of our
    greatest treats to be taken to see the clergyman in question,
    who was very kind to us and used to ask us to play drums and
    other instruments in his quaint sitting-room. The occasions of
    his visits to our house were also much looked forward to, as he
    was sure to do something original. He once came to a dinner
    party and brought two or three musical-boxes which he set off,
    all playing different tunes at the same time, during dinner.
    This is the story that occurs in the notebook:

The first time that Archdeacon Wickham visited this deanery as
archdeacon I drove him to a parsonage where the incumbent insisted upon
his inspecting everything. In the garden is a little pond, and over this
pond we beheld a strange erection of posts and planks, with a sort of
saddle-like seat on the top. On the Archdeacon asking the incumbent
what it was, he explained with great delight that it was a capital
contrivance by which you could take exercise and make yourself useful by
pumping water up to the church, where he had just been building a
transept. So, saying that he would show us, he clambered up, sat down on
the saddle smiling, and began to work the treadles eagerly.
Unfortunately, however, the work at the church having been just
finished, the pipe which had conveyed the water to the workmen had been
cut off just above the surface of the water. The consequence was that he
immediately produced a jet of water which shot straight upwards and
almost lifted him off his seat, entirely upsetting the archidiaconal
gravity. As we returned to the house the incumbent begged the Archdeacon
to go into the back yard and smell the pump, which, he said, stank
horribly. The Archdeacon protested that he had no authority over pumps,
but he would take no denial, and when he got into the backyard he said,
"Now, Mr. Archdeacon, if you will put your nose to the spout, I will
pump." The Archdeacon was, however, quite equal to the occasion, and
said, "No, I depute the Rural Dean to put his nose to the spout, and I
will receive his report, and, if needed, pronounce an ecclesiastical

    Bishop Walsham How's love of botany took him frequently into the
    wilder and more mountainous parts of the neighbourhood, and in
    the course of these expeditions he made friends with the
    gentleman, since dead, of whom he tells the following story:

The Vicar of the little parish of Criggion, under the Breidden hills,
asked me once to come there for a certain All Saints' Day, when he was
going to have a meeting of choirs. I could not go, but seeing him a
little while afterwards, I asked him how the choral festival had gone
off. "Oh! very well," he said. "And how many choirs had you?" I asked
"Oh, well, only two," he said; "L----'s from over the hill and my own."
"And how many voices had you?" I next asked. "You should not be so
inquisitive," he said, "but to tell the truth, there were only his
Buttons and my own little maid!"

    Before he went to Whittington, he had some experience of another
    quaint character among Shropshire clergymen, as is related in
    the following passage taken from the notebook:

Mr. C---- was curate of a parish near Shrewsbury when I was curate of
Holy Cross and St. Giles' in that town. He was very eccentric in all his
ways. Among other peculiarities he, though very High Church in views,
adopted a very secular style of dress. Archdeacon Allen undertook on one
occasion to speak to him on the subject, and at a Visitation very kindly
and pleasantly remarked that his dress was not quite what was usual on
such occasions. Whereupon Mr. C----, taking hold of the Archdeacon's
coat, said, "Well, Mr. Archdeacon, you know _this_ is not quite the
correct thing: I believe it is an old coat made to do!" The Archdeacon
could not resist a good laugh, and acknowledged that he was quite right
in his supposition.

One day my good fellow curate, the Rev. F. P. Johnson, was walking along
the road when he saw Mr. C---- approaching, a gaunt figure with long
strides, in a striped waistcoat and blue muffetees, intoning at the top
of his voice the prayer for the Queen's most excellent Majesty. He
slackened pace, finished the prayer, duly sang the Amen, and then shook
hands with a hearty "How do you do, old fellow?" On Johnson expressing
astonishment at the performance, he said he was only saying Matins as in
duty bound, and, since his rector would not have it in church and he had
no time in his lodgings in Shrewsbury, he always said it as he came back
from visiting the school in the morning. "If you had been a minute or
two sooner," he added, "you would just have come in for the anthem. You
know 'in choirs and places where they sing, here followeth the anthem.'"
"And what anthem did you have to-day?" asked Johnson. "Oh," he replied,
"I always have the same, for I only know one. When I come to that place
I always sing 'God save the Queen.'"

Another time Mr. C---- was spending a day with Mr. Peake, then curate of
Ellesmere. At noon he went up to his room, and Mr. Peake heard him
whistling very strangely on one note. He went up, knocked at his door,
and asked him what he was doing. "Oh nothing," said Mr. C----. "But what
are you whistling in that queer way for?" said Mr. Peake. "Oh, well, if
you must know," he answered, "I was saying my prayers." "Saying your
prayers!" said Mr. Peake, "why, you were whistling!" "Yes, I know," said
Mr. C----; "the fact is your maid was cleaning your room next to mine,
and I thought she would think it odd perhaps if I intoned my sexts, as I
generally do, so I thought I would whistle them to-day."

    Several stories occur in connection with Oswestry, which was the
    market town for Whittington.

Extract from a sermon preached by a curate of Oswestry upon the scene
between St. Paul and St. Peter at Antioch. The words were taken down at
the time [N.B.--_Hibernice legendum_]: "So Paul seized the banner of the
Gospel out of the hands of poor, weak, compromising Peter, and waved it
in a flood of light and liberty over the head of the Galatian Church."


A certain Calvinistic curate of Oswestry met a neighbour who had
unhappily seceded to Rome, and thus described the interview to his
vicar. "I met ---- yesterday, and said to him, 'Not a day of my life
passes that I do not pray for you.' And what do you think he said? Why,
'And not a day of _my_ life passes that I do not pray for _you_.' The
impudence of the fellow!"

    Here is another:

A certain clergyman of this diocese, risen from the ranks, was preaching
at Trinity Church, Oswestry, and found in the course of the service that
he had forgotten his pocket-handkerchief. As he felt he should require
one during the sermon, the weather being very warm, he asked a lady in a
pew close to the pulpit, as he went up, to lend him hers, which he duly
returned as he went down again!

    Whittington being on the borders of Wales, Dissent was
    extremely prevalent, and the Church's action towards Dissenters
    was a burning subject. Hence the following story:

At a clerical meeting soon after I came into these parts the subject
discussed was, "How to treat Dissenters." After most of those present
had spoken, a neighbouring rector said, "I make it a principle never to
speak to Dissenters about religious matters. But I have a very good
garden with a southern slope, and I send them baskets of early
vegetables, and by this means I have brought several over to the

    Next come two stories from the same neighbourhood of Oswestry,
    but of a more unclerical nature:

A relation of Sir Watkin Wynn was one day hunting with those hounds when
his horse stumbled in a lane and fell with him. Whereupon Simpson, at
that time Sir Watkin's second horseman, jumped off to help him, and
thinking him dangerously hurt tried to comfort him with a text of
Scripture, saying, "Ah, sir! naked we came out of our mother's womb and
naked we shall return thither!"

Dr. B----, of Oswestry, has three horses which he has named "High
Church," "Low Church," and "Broad Church." The reason he gives is that
the first is always on his knees, the second never, and as for the third
you never know what he will do next.

    This last story leads on naturally to a number of good things on
    the subject of Ritualism. A High Churchman was practically an
    unknown quantity in those parts when Bishop Walsham How first
    went to be Rector of Whittington in 1851. The smallest
    innovation or improvement in a service, such as are generally
    accepted nowadays in Evangelical Churches, raised a storm of
    protest, and the ignorance displayed by newspapers as well as by
    private individuals is almost past belief in these days when we
    have been satiated with articles and correspondence on "advanced
    practices." For instance:

A Wellington paper, commenting severely on the supposed ritualistic
practices at Welsh Hampton, spoke of the Vicar as "practising the most
unblushing celibacy."

The same paper describing an evening service at St. Mary's, Shrewsbury,
spoke of the vicar as walking in procession with his curate from the
vestry and then entering the desk and beginning the evening service,
"or, as, borrowing the language of these gentlemen, we ought more
correctly to say, evening matins."

A short time ago the Reverend James Hook, Vicar of Morton, was coming to
see me by train. There were several women in the carriage, and one of
them began to talk to the others about Whittington, asking them if they
knew what shocking things were done in the church there. She then said
she once went into Whittington Church and saw the host on the altar.
There were great exclamations of horror, when Mr. Hook quietly looked up
from his paper and said, "I beg your pardon, what did you see?" "The
host on the altar, sir," she said. "Oh, and what was it like?" She
hesitated and said she could not exactly describe it. He told her not to
mind about being very exact, but would she tell him what sort of a thing
it was? She then said she did not notice very carefully. So he then said
he would tell her what it meant, and having done so, he told her how
wicked it was to invent such stories. She was then frightened, and said
with some alarm, "Well, sir, I am certain I saw two rows of candlesticks
down the two sides of the church."

An advertisement copied from the _Liverpool Courier_, January 1874.
[_N.B._--This refers to a prosecution of Mr. Parnell, of St. Margaret's,
for ritualistic practices.] "Parnell Prosecution.--A gentleman who
intends subscribing £10 to the St. Margaret's Defence Fund is desirous
to pair with gentleman about to subscribe the same sum towards the
prosecution, in order to save the pockets of both. Address C. I.,
_Courier_ Office."

A clergyman going into a very advanced church could not make out what
they were doing, and said he tried various parts of the Prayer-book in
vain, and at last bethought him of "Prayers for those at sea." But this,
too, failed, so he gave up trying.

A clergyman going to see a parish offered him, was shown it by a farmer
churchwarden, who in the course of conversation said, "Are there many
Puseyites, sir, where you come from?" He answered, "Not many; are there
many here?" Farmer: "There used to be, but they are getting scarce now."
"How do you account for that?" Farmer: "Well, sir, the boys have taken
the eggs." This curious reason was explained when it turned out that the
farmer meant "peewits."

A lady friend of mine the other day wrote to say that their clergyman
was accused of ritualistic tendencies. She could not herself discover
them, but she said he certainly had something on the back of his neck
which to her looked like a button, but which she was credibly informed
was really the thin end of the wedge.

    As may be supposed a large number of the stories in Bishop
    Walsham How's note-book refer to curious incidents and awkward
    situations during divine service. The following are a selection
    of anecdotes of this class, and are in almost every case

My grandfather, the Reverend Peter How, was Rector of Workington, in
Cumberland, where there was (and is untouched to this day, 1878!) a
large "three-decker" clerk's desk, reading-desk, and pulpit, one on top
of the other, blocking up the centre of the church and, of course, all
facing west. My grandfather was reading the prayers one Sunday, when his
large black dog came into church and found him out, so he opened the
door, to which is attached a small flight of steps, and the dog came in
and lay down under the seat, unseen by the congregation, who were deeply
ensconced in the high square pews, and at last was forgotten by his
master. In due time the latter went to the vestry, put on his black
gown, and ascended the pulpit, when, soon after beginning his sermon, he
became aware that the people were all convulsed with laughter, and
looking down over the pulpit cushion he saw his dog with its hind legs
on the seat and its forefeet on the cushion of the reading-desk gravely
regarding the congregation.

    Another story of the Bishop's grandfather follows:

My grandfather was once baptizing a small collier boy of three or four
years old at Workington. Other children having been first baptized, he
proceeded to baptize this boy also, but when he put the water on his
forehead the boy turned upon him fiercely, saying, "What did you do that
for, ye great black dog? I did nothing to you!"

    Workington was also the scene of an awkward situation in which,
    when a very young man, the Bishop found himself.

When I was a deacon, and naturally shy, I was visiting my aunts in
Workington, where my grandfather had been Rector, and was asked to
preach on Sunday evening in St. John's, a wretched modern church--a
plain oblong with galleries, and a pulpit like a very tall wineglass,
with a very narrow little straight staircase leading up to it, in the
middle of the east part of the church. When the hymn before the sermon
was given out I went as usual to the vestry to put on the black gown.
Not knowing that the clergyman generally stayed there till the end of
the hymn, I emerged as soon as I had thus vested myself and walked to
the pulpit and ascended the stairs. When nearly at the summit, to my
horror I discovered a very fat beadle in the pulpit lighting the
candles. We could not possibly pass on the stairs, and the eyes of the
whole congregation were upon me. It would be ignominious to retreat. So
after a few minutes' reflection I saw my way out of the difficulty,
which I overcame by a very simple mechanical contrivance. I entered the
pulpit, which exactly fitted the beadle and myself, and then face to
face we executed a rotatory movement to the extent of a semi-circle,
when the beadle finding himself next the door of the pulpit was enabled
to descend, and I remained master of the situation.

When curate at Kidderminster, I had on one occasion to baptize nine
children at once. The ninth was a boy of nearly two years of age, and
was taken up and put into my arms. This he stoutly resisted, beginning
immediately to kick with all his might. His clothes being very loose
and very short, he very soon kicked himself all but out of them, but I
had got him fast by his clothes and his head, and was repeating the
words of reception into the Church with as much gravity as I could
command, when his mother, possessing a strong maternal appreciation of
the fair proportions of her lively offspring and a relatively weak
appreciation of the solemnity of the occasion, remarked aloud to me,
with a gratified smile, "He's a nice little lump, sir, isn't he?"

The Earl of Powis, among his many acts of generous kindness, has given
substantial aid to the Rev. C. F. Lowder's very poor district of St.
Peter's, London Docks. He went to the laying of the stone of the church
there, and just as the ceremony was about to begin a bottle was handed
by some one to Mr. Lowder. He could not make it out, and consulted Lord
Powis, who at last ingeniously suggested that, as it looked like oil, it
was probably intended for the anointing of the stone. So they agreed to
pour it quietly on the stone then and there. The smell that arose was
dreadful, but the service began, and very few had noticed the bottle.
In the evening an old woman, a former parishioner, came up to Mr.
Lowder, and asked after his rheumatism, and said she hoped he got the
bottle. On his saying, "Oh, yes, it reached me quite safely," she
explained that it was a wonderful cure for rheumatism, which she had
manufactured herself.

    If an ingenious way was on this occasion found out of a
    difficulty, what about the next?

When Archbishop Longley was Bishop of Durham, he was one day obliged to
absent himself from the prayers in his chapel, and asked an old
clergyman who happened to be there to read the prayers. It happened that
the first lesson was Judges V., and in reading verse 17 the poor old
clergyman, mindful of the presence of Mrs. and the Miss Longleys,
modestly altered the last word and read, "Asher continued on the
sea-shore, and abode in his garments." This was told me by a daughter of
Archbishop Longley.

A former vicar of Newbiggin received a message one Sunday morning from
a neighbouring clergyman, who had been taken ill, to ask if he could
provide for his duty. So he sent to his curate (my brother-in-law) to
tell him he should not be at church that morning, ordered his carriage,
and put an old sermon, which he had no time to look at, in his pocket.
When he began to preach he soon found out that the sermon was one which
he had preached on bidding farewell to his first curacy. For a page or
two he tried to omit the more pointed allusions to the occasion of its
previous use (which must have been many years before), but, to quote his
own account, "I soon found that wouldn't do, as it was all about it, so
I spoke boldly of the close of my twelve years' ministry among them, and
I do assure you, sir, I left many of the congregation in tears."

    A somewhat similar story comes a little later in the book, but
    must be placed here:

A shy, nervous clergyman near Bradford was about to help a friend by
reading the prayers when a message came to say that a neighbouring
incumbent was taken ill and to ask for help. The rector could not go, so
the friend had to be sent, but, having no sermon with him, he borrowed
one from the rector, who wrote a clear good hand. He selected one well
written, of which the subject was "the value of time," and meant to read
it over on the way, but eventually did not like to do so as he sat
beside a servant who drove him over. So it happened that he had to read
it for the first time in the pulpit. He got on very well till he came to
a sentence saying that, as the parish possessed no church clock, it was
his intention to present one. He was too nervous to omit the sentence,
and (I was assured at Bradford) did actually present the promised clock,
which cost £70.

    Here is another authentic sermon story:

While an undergraduate at Oxford I went with some friends to hear a
somewhat noted Evangelical preacher preach for the Church Missionary
Society at St. Peter's Church. He was exceedingly affected and
bombastic, and, having tickled us undergraduates a good deal by his
manner, at last produced a complete explosion by involving himself in a
hopeless difficulty by a metaphor after this fashion: "When I
contemplate the great human family I am often reminded of some mighty
river. See how it draws its tribute of many waters from many a distant
land, many a mountain range, and many a wide moor-land, sending their
ever-growing streams to swell the noble river as it pursues its way down
the valley, till all these various tributaries converging into one great
volume, it pours its glorious flood into the bosom of the boundless
ocean! Such, my brethren, is the race of man." Here the preacher paused,
and it was quite obvious to every one that he saw that his metaphor was
just the wrong way up! So he coughed and hemmed, and changed the

At Uffington, near Shrewsbury, during the incumbency of the Rev. J.
Hopkins, the choir and organist, having been dissatisfied with some
arrangement, determined not to take part in the service. So when the
clerk, according to the usual custom of those days, gave out the hymn,
there was dead silence. This lasted a little while, and then the clerk,
unable to bear it, rose up and appealed to the congregation, saying most
imploringly, "Them as _can_ sing _do_ ye sing: it's misery to be a
this'n" (Shropshire for "in this way").

Canon B---- was on a voyage to Egypt in a Cunard steamer, and on Sunday,
in the Bay of Biscay, he undertook to hold a service. He read one of the
sentences, and said "Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in
sundry places," when he had to bolt and collapse. He told me he thought
this a record service for brevity.

At St. Saviour's, Hoxton, the daily prayer is held in the south chancel
aisle. The Vicar, the Rev. John Oakley, having to go out, left the
evening service at 8.30 to a curate, but, returning home at 8.50,
thought he would step in to the west end of the church and be in time
for the end of the service. When he went in, to his dismay he saw a few
women kneeling in the accustomed place but no clergyman. Concluding that
the curate had forgotten, he rapidly passed up the north aisle to the
vestry, slipped on a surplice, went across to the south side and read
the service. He afterwards found that the curate had already done so,
but, being in a hurry, had somewhat shortened it, and had left the
church a minute before he (Mr. O.) arrived. The good women who always
knelt some time at the close of the service thus did double duty that

At Kensington parish church one of the curates asked for the prayers of
the congregation for "a family crossing the Atlantic, and other sick

At Wolstanton in the Potteries there was a somewhat fussy verger called
Oakes. On one occasion just at the time of year when it was doubtful
whether lights would be wanted or no, and when they had not yet been
lighted for evening service, a stranger, who was a very smart young
clergyman, was reading the lessons and had some difficulty in seeing. He
had on a pair of delicate lavender kid gloves. The verger, perceiving
his difficulty, went to the vestry, got two candles, lighted them, and
walked to the lectern, before which he stood solemnly holding the
candles (without candlesticks) in his hands. This was sufficiently
trying to the congregation, but suddenly some one rattled the latch of
the west door, when Oakes, feeling that it was absolutely necessary to
go and see what was the matter, thrust the two candles into the poor
young clergyman's delicately gloved hands, and left him!

A clergyman in a church in Lancashire gave out as his text, "The devil
as a roaring lion goeth about seeking whom he may devour," and then
added, "The Bishop of Manchester has announced his intention of visiting
all the parishes in the diocese, and hopes to visit this parish on such
a date."

A former young curate of Stoke being very anxious to do things
rubrically, insisted on the ring being put on the "fourth finger" at a
wedding he took. The woman resisted and said, "I would rather die than
be married on my little finger." The curate said, "But the rubric says
so," whereupon the _deus ex machinâ_ appeared in the shape of the parish
clerk, who stepped forward and said, "In these cases, sir, the thoomb
counts as a digit."

The rector of Thornhill near Dewsbury, on one occasion could not get the
woman to say, "obey," in the marriage service, and he repeated the word
with a strong stress on each syllable, saying, "You must say, _O-bey_."
Whereupon the man interfered and said, "Never mind; go on, parson. I'll
mak' her say 'O' by-and-by."

At the church of Strathfieldsaye, where the Duke of Wellington was a
regular attendant, a stranger was preaching, and the verger when he
ended came up the stairs, opened the pulpit door a little way, slammed
it to, and then opened it wide for the preacher to go out. He asked in
the vestry why he had shut the door again while opening it, and the
verger said, "We always do that sir, to wake the duke."

Mr. Ibbetson, of St. Michael's, Walthamstow, was marrying a couple when
the ring was found to be too tight. A voice from behind exclaimed, "Suck
your finger, you fool."

    Two or three stories about vergers naturally find a place here.
    Possibly some of them are well known, but, even so, they will
    bear repetition.

A gentleman going to see a ritualistic church in London was walking
into the chancel when an official stepped forward and said, "You mustn't
go in there." "Why not?" said the gentleman. "I'm put here to stop you,"
said the man. "Oh! I see," said the gentleman, "you're what they call
the _rude_ screen, aren't you?"

A clergyman in the diocese of Wakefield told me that when he first came
to the parish he found things in a very neglected state, and among other
changes he introduced an early celebration of the Holy Communion. An old
clerk collected the offertory, and when he brought it up to the
clergyman he said, "There's eight on 'em, but two 'asn't paid."

A verger was showing a lady over a church when she asked him if the
vicar was a married man. "No, ma'am," he answered, "he's a chalybeate."

A verger showing a large church to a stranger, pointed out another man
and said, "That is the other verger." The gentleman said, "I did not
know there were two of you," and the verger replied, "Oh yes, sir, he
werges up one side of the church and I werges up the other."

    Two little stories connected with Bishop Walsham How's episcopal
    life may well conclude the anecdotes about vergers. The Bishop's
    dislike of ostentation was well known. He caused much amusement
    on one occasion when living in London, by frustrating the
    designs of a pompous verger. It had been this man's custom to
    meet the Bishop at the door of the church, and precede him up
    the centre aisle _en route_ for the vestry, thus making a little
    extra procession of his own. One day the Bishop, after handing
    this verger his bag, let him go on his way up the centre of the
    church, and himself slipped off up a side aisle, and gained the
    vestry unobserved, while the verger marched up in a solemn
    procession of _one_!

    The other story occurs in the note-book, and runs as follows:

On my first visit to Almondbury to preach, the verger came to me in the
vestry, and said, "A've put a platform in t' pulpit for ye; you'll
excuse me, but a little man looks as if he was in a toob." (N.B. To
prevent undue inferences I am five feet nine inches in height.)

    Bishop Walsham How's love of children was well known, and it is
    not surprising to find a large number of stories about them in
    his note-book. These stories are mainly of two kinds, those
    relating to answers made in Sunday school, &c., and those of a
    more general nature.

    Some examples of the latter follow, but it must be borne in mind
    that these stories have, many of them, become well known owing
    to the Bishop's fondness of telling them. If he was not able to
    enjoy children's society, the next best thing was to talk about

A very little girl, when taken to church, always knelt down reverently
to say a short prayer when she went in. Her mother, not having taught
her any prayer to say at that time, asked her to tell her what she said.
The child answered that she always prayed that there might be no Litany.

A little boy had a German nursery governess, and told her he thought she
ought to learn Hebrew. On her saying she didn't see the use of that, he
explained that it was that she might say her prayers properly, for he
was sure God knew Hebrew, but he didn't think He could be expected to
understand German.

A child being taken to the seaside for the first time, was asked how she
liked it, and in answer said it was very beautiful, but she didn't see
"all the tinnimies," an expectation due to her private version of the
Fourth Commandment.

I recollect, when a child, being exceedingly interested and affected by
a story which used to be read to me from a small periodical--I think it
was called the _Magazine for the Young_--about two boys who went to
school. Their names were Master Cruelty and Master Innocent Sweetlove,
the former taking with him to school a bow and arrow, and the latter a
dove in a cage and a lute. The natural result followed, Master Cruelty
shooting Master Innocent Sweetlove's dove, and the latter thereupon
taking his lute into the churchyard, and, seated on a tombstone,
solacing his grief with mournful music. This seemed to me very

One of the children of the Vicar of St. Peter's, Eaton Square, told his
father he thought some of the things they collected for in church were
very silly. He could not think why they should have a collection for the
Bishop of London's fun.

Archdeacon Denison told me that his brother, when a boy, among many bits
of mischief did the following: His father was very fond of pictures, and
had one of the death of Isaac in which the patriarch appeared lying on a
couch in a splendid crimson damask tent supported by four Corinthian
pillars, with a beautiful white damask table-cloth spread on the table
before him. Through the tent door you saw Esau running after a stag
while Jacob was bringing in the savoury meat. The offender one day
carefully painted on the corner of the table-cloth "Isaac 6."

A boy being asked whether he always said his prayers, said, "Yes, always
at night." He was then asked, "And why not in the morning?" To which he
answered, "Because a strong boy of nine, like me, ought to be able to
take care of himself in the daytime."

Two little boys, grandchildren of a former vicar of Great Yarmouth, were
looking at some pictures in a copy of "Bunyan's Holy War," and found one
of the devil chained. One of them asked his mother whether the devil was
chained, and, being told "no," asked whether he ever would be. To this
she answered, "Yes, some day." The boy replied, "When he is, need we say
our prayers?"

    The Bishop had a niece who is head-mistress of the Godolphin
    High School at Salisbury, and the following story was told him
    by her.

A child at the school asked if there were any saints now. The mistress
replied that she hoped there were many, on which the child said, "Then,
I suppose they've left off wearing those hats," by which she meant the

    The next story is told of a little great-niece of the Bishop
    called Molly.

Little Molly, aged four, after saying her prayers one evening to her
aunt, remarked, "There's no one to make you say your prayers as you make
me." "No," her aunt said, "we don't want any one to make us, for we like
saying our prayers." "Do you?" said Molly, "Then I wish you'd ask God
not to let my goloshes fall off so often."

A little girl unused to surpliced choirs, on seeing such a choir enter
the church, whispered in dismay to her mother, "They're not _all_ going
to preach, are they?"

    The Bishop was chairman of the Committee of the Society for
    providing Homes for Waifs and Strays, and in connection with
    this work told the following story:

Some children kept some hens, and were allowed to sell the eggs for the
"Waifs and Strays." One Sunday morning they brought nine eggs in to
their father and mother, and said, "We did give it out to the hens that
there would be a collection to-day."

    The annual children's parties which the Bishop delighted to
    give were great events, and the following incident which
    occurred at one of them must find a place here:

At a children's party given by me shortly after the death of Archbishop
Thompson we had a Punch and Judy to amuse the children. The man who
showed it came up to my son before the performance and said that he had
heard that I had been at the Archbishop's funeral, and perhaps I should
prefer his leaving out the coffin scene!

    Here are some odd notions about the unseen world which were
    developed in the brains of some of the Bishop's little friends:

Little Rupert B----, aged just three, one day when it was raining, said
to his father that he did not think heaven could be a nice place to live
in. "Why not?" asked his father. "Because," he answered, "the floor is
all full of holes and lets the water through." Before he was three a
little baby sister was born, and he was taken into his mother's room to
see her. "Where did it come from?" he asked. His mother said, "God sent
it us." "Then," said Rupert, "I suppose it is a sort of an angel." His
mother explained that it was only a baby. "Hasn't it got any wings?" he
asked, and on being told "No," added, "Hasn't it got any feathers at

A little boy, hearing the hymn read which says,

  "Satan trembles when he sees
  The feeblest saint upon his knees,"

asked, "Why does Satan let the saint sit on his knees if it makes him

A little girl who had been taking raspberries in the garden was talked
to by her mother, and told to resist the temptation. She afterwards
appeared with evident signs of having been again among the raspberries,
and, when her mother asked her how it was that she had not resisted the
temptation, she said that when she was looking at the raspberries she
did say "Get thee behind me, Satan," and he got behind her and pushed
her in.

A very little girl was asked, "Who made you?" She answered very
reverently, "God," and then, looking shocked, whispered, "Nurse says He
made me naked."

On my visit to Illingworth to consecrate a new chancel in 1889, the
churchwarden gave a luncheon party, and his little boy, aged nine, told
my chaplain that he wanted to go to church to be confirmed. The chaplain
told him it was not a confirmation but a consecration, whereupon the
small boy said he didn't care which it was so long as he was done.

A little cousin of mine when very small was asked who was the first man,
to which he promptly answered "Adam." He was next asked who was the
first woman, when he thought a little, and then hesitatingly suggested

Bishop Knight Bruce's little boy accounted for the number of fleas in
South Africa by saying, "God made lots and lots of people, so you see He
_had_ to make lots and lots of fleas."

A little girl, known to Mr. Edward Clifford, hearing much of the praise
of stylishness, once prayed, "O Lord, make me stylish."

    When the Bishop was rector of Whittington he was a most
    diligent teacher in the village school, going there from nine to
    ten almost every morning. He was also for some years a diocesan
    inspector of schools. He was, therefore, keenly alive to the
    numberless mistakes and misapprehensions of children, and
    recorded in his note-book a large number of absurd answers which
    he either heard himself or of which he was told by friends. A
    selection of these is given here.

In examining the schools of the deanery of Oswestry I once visited
Selattyn school, and set four questions for the senior class to answer
in writing. They were, (1) "What do you know about Tarsus?" (2) "Why did
St. Paul go to Damascus?" (3) "What is the meaning of Asia in the New
Testament?" (4) "What happened at Lystra?" The following is a copy of
one paper sent in:

John Jones, 12 last birthday, a teacher in Selattyn. Tarsus was a man
which could not walked from his mother womb and he used to go to the
temple every day and St. Paul heal him St. Paul said to tartus I say
unto thee arise so Tarsus sat up and leap and walked.

St. Paul went to Damascus to preach to the Gentiles. Asia means the
place where they ended when they started from Antiock to Asia.

It happened at Lystra that the two seas met and the soldiers cut the

The Vicar of King Cross, Halifax, asked a class of boys what was the
difference between a priest and a deacon, and one boy said the deacon
only wore that thing over one shoulder. The Vicar asked why he did so,
and after some hesitation another boy answered, "Because he hasn't put
both shoulders to the wheel."

At Almondbury in 1897 a class of boys were asked the meaning of an
Archangel, and one boy suggested "One of the angels that came out of the

The Rev. T. F. Dale, when in India teaching in his school, asked the
boys what is the meaning of faith. A European boy answered, "When you
believe something you are quite sure isn't true."

A lady was explaining to a class the passage "Not with eye-service as
men-pleasers," and asked the children if they knew what eye-service
meant. One girl suggested, "service in 'igh families."

Mr. B---- of Stamford, in a Teachers' Meeting, urged his Sunday School
teachers not to take it for granted that their scholars knew the meaning
of words, and illustrated his caution by the word "Epiphany," telling
them that they should always explain that it meant "manifestation."
Shortly afterwards the diocesan inspector was examining the day school
and accidentally asked what "Epiphany" meant. One little girl said, "A
railway porter, sir." The inspector asking what made her think that. She
said her teacher had told her it meant the "man at the station."

A lady being anxious to teach a new little kitchen-maid something of the
Bible, rightly thought she must find out what she knew. So she asked her
if she knew about our Lord, and she said "No." So she thought she must
begin at the very beginning, and told the girl she would read to her
about God making the world. The girl sat perfectly stolid and
unintelligent till they came to the serpent tempting Eve, when she
suddenly exclaimed, "I remember summat about that snike." This was her
_summa theologiæ_.

A child in a school was asked what he knew about Solomon, and said, "He
was very fond of animals." Being asked what made him think so, he said,
"Because he had three hundred porcupines."

    Here is a very up-to-date little story: did it happen in

Teacher: "Why did they hide Moses in the bulrushes?"

Answer: "Because they didn't want him to be vaccinated."

My cousin, Mr. G. F. King, teaching a class of little London boys one
Sunday, was questioning them about the parable of the Good Samaritan,
and asked them what it was that the man "fell among." He tried to get
them to remember by saying that it was a dangerous road to travel along,
when one little boy held up his hand. My cousin said, "Well, what did he
fall among?" and the little boy replied, "Buses."

    An anachronism:

The Duke of York lately visited Leeds, and there were large crowds in
the streets. Shortly afterwards one of the clergy was questioning some
little children about the birth of our Lord, and asked, "How came there
to be so many people at Bethlehem at that time?" One of the children
replied, "Please, sir, the Duke of York was there."

At Denbigh a girl at Howell's school was reading St. Matt. v. 41 to the
rector of Henllan, and gave it thus: "And whosoever shall compel thee to
go a mile, go with him by train."

Mr. Castley, curate of Marsden, questioning the children in the school
as to the history of St. Stephen, asked what it was of which he was
accused before the Council. A boy replied, "Looking after the widows."

When the diocesan inspector was examining the Cathedral Schools,
Wakefield, in 1895, he asked the children what Moses said when God told
him to go and speak to Pharaoh. One child answered, "Our Aaron would do
it better."

    The next story was an experience of the Bishop's own when he
    was rector of Whittington:

I once set a class of girls in our school to write the life of Solomon.
When I looked over the exercises I found one girl began, "Solomon slept
with his fathers," and went on after that with his history. On
questioning her I found she thought it meant that Solomon when a child
slept in his father's bed.

Another girl at the same time brought me a new and wonderful judgment of
Solomon in the following words: "The Queen of Sheba was as wise a woman
as Solomon was a man. She brought a hundred children, fifty boys and
fifty girls, to Solomon, all dressed the same, to see if he could tell
which was which. So Solomon commanded water to be brought and bade them
wash; whereupon the girls washed up to their elbows, but the boys only
washed up to their wrists. So Solomon knew which was boys and which was

The headmaster of the Wakefield Grammar School in an examination-paper
on general knowledge asked, "Who was John Wesley?" One boy answered as
follows: "John Wesley invented Methodist chapels, and afterwards became
Duke of Wellington."

My daughter was teaching a class of boys at Upper Clapton just before
the boat race, when she saw one of the boys tear a page out of his
Bible, crumple it up, and throw it away. She said, "What are you doing?"
to which the boy replied quite demurely, "I'm for Oxford, and this Bible
was printed at Cambridge, and I'm not going to use a Bible with
Cambridge in it."

The Vicar of St. Augustine's, South Hackney, turned a boy out of his
class one Sunday for misbehaviour. Next Sunday the boy appeared again in
his class, when the vicar said, "Wasn't it you I put out last Sunday?"
The boy at once replied, "No, sir, I think it was the gas."

A boy in an examination, being asked to give an account of the Sadducees
and Publicans, wrote, "The Sadducees did not believe in spirits, but the
Publicans _did_."

    Here follows another story which, in common with the last two or
    three, was noted by the Bishop during the time of his
    suffragan-episcopate for East London.

The diocesan inspector was examining a very young class in the St. Mary
Axe Ward School, and asked, "What became of Adam and Eve when they were
turned out of the Garden of Eden?" To which a little girl answered,
"They went to the workhouse, sir."

In a school examination the question was set, "Explain the meaning of a
Bishop, Priest, and Deacon." One boy answered, "I never saw a Bishop, so
I don't know. A Priest is a man in the Old Testament. A Deacon is a
thing you pile up on the top of a hill, and set fire to it."

A boy, being asked for the derivation of Pontifex, said, "It is derived
from _pons_ a bridge, and means the Chief Priest, just as we say

Some children in an Irish school were asked the meaning of "He that
exalteth himself shall be abased," when one of them replied, "Turned
into horses or cows."

A Confirmation having been held in a Yorkshire village, some children
were seen very busy in the road making a church with mud. A passer-by
asked them where the bishop was, and they said they hadn't got mook
enough to mak' a beeshop.

A boy in Christ Church, Albany Street, School when asked, "What are the
Ember weeks?" answered, "The weeks when we pray for the young gentlemen
who are afraid of not passing their examination."

Prizes have for several years been offered for the best essays by
children on subjects set the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals. In 1893, in answer to the question, "What passages in Holy
Scripture bear upon cruelty to animals?" one boy said, "Cruel people
often cut dogs' tails and ears, but the Bible says, 'Those whom God hath
joined together, let no man put asunder.'" Another boy, in reply to the
question, "Why should you be kind to animals?" said, "If you are very
kind to a dog he will follow you to the grave at your funeral."

    The next two stories are not of exactly the same nature, but so
    closely relate to the subject of children and schools that they
    may be fittingly inserted here.

I met an officer once who was relating his experiences of Sunday School
teaching. He said he met an old schoolfellow one day who was a
clergyman, and who persuaded him to spend a Sunday with him. In the
morning his friend told him that he must come and take a class of boys
in the Sunday School. This he protested he could not, and would not, do,
but was finally over-persuaded, his friend lending him a commentary, and
telling him he had only to keep the class quiet, as he would his own
men, hear them read a chapter, and ask them a few questions which he
would find in the notes of the commentary. "All went well," he said,
"till we had read the chapter through, when I tried to find the
questions. I managed to ask one or two, which I found they answered in a
moment, so in my despair I thought I would take them into the Old
Testament, and now I was more lucky, for I asked them, 'Boys, who was
Mephistopheles?' Well, would you believe it, there wasn't a boy of them
that knew! And wasn't I glad! I didn't know anything about him myself,
you know, except that he was one of the old patriarchs, but it got me
out of this trouble, for, though the time wasn't half up, I closed the
Bible with a bang and exclaimed, 'Boys! I can teach you no more. Go home
and search the Scriptures!'"

A clergyman living at Rainbow Hill, Worcester, in visiting his parish,
called on the mother of one of the girls in the Church School, who,
being rather "superior," told him she thought a parish school was not
quite suited to Florrie, and, as she was rather delicate, she had
decided to take her away and send her to a young ladies' cemetery.

    Besides the mistakes made by children, the Bishop not
    unnaturally collected a number of curious answers made in
    examination papers by older people. The candidates for
    ordination in the Wakefield diocese supplied some of these, and
    others he was told by his brother-bishops. Some of these stories
    were told in the "Memoir of Bishop Walsham How," and others may
    be well known, but they form an important part of the Bishop's
    note-book, and must not be omitted here.

    The following are answers made in writing by different
    candidates for ordination:

A number of words were given for explanation, and among them was
"cherub." One man wrote, "A cherub is an infant angel, who died before
baptism, and will undoubtedly be saved."

Another question was, "How may St. Paul's Epistles be grouped?" One
answer was, "St. Paul's Epistles may be divided into two groups, those
he wrote before his conversion and those he wrote after."

Another candidate rather surprised the examiner by stating that "in the
early Church, before a person was baptized, he was obliged to learn a

Another, to the question "Who were the Ophites?" gave the interesting
answer that "the Ophites were people who walked by sight and not by
faith, the word being derived from the Greek word for to see."

In the Ripon diocese an ordination candidate, in answer to the question,
"What religious sects have been founded during the last two centuries?"
gave a list which included "the Ecclesiastical Commissioners."

An ordination candidate, being asked in a paper on doctrine to write out
the Nicene Creed, wrote (with a magnificent grasp of faith), "I believe
in all things visible and invisible."

The Vice-President of the Liverpool Philomathic Society vouches for the
story that, in answer to the question "Define a parable," an examinee
wrote, "A parable is a heavenly story with no earthly meaning."

A young man having attended some University Extension lectures on
physiology, remarked to his clergyman how much light they threw on many
things. "For instance," he said, "I never understood one of the Collects
in the Prayer-book, which speaks of 'both our hearts,' before. But I see
now that it refers to the right and the left ventricle."

    Here is another physiological story:

The late Canon Lyttelton, of Gloucester, when rector of Hagley, was fond
of scientific teaching, and formed a class in his school for physiology.
After a few lectures he received a letter from the mother of one of his
pupils, saying, "Reverend sir, Please not to teach our Susan anything
more about her inside; it makes her so proud."

In a paper on practical subjects one of the questions asked what rules
for almsgiving could be recommended. One of the candidates advised a
plan he had seen of having about six boxes in the house, and sending
them round at meals for various charities according to the viands on the
table. Thus, when the fish was served the box for the Deep Sea Fisheries
would be sent round, and when pineapples were being eaten that for the

In answer to the question, "What is a churchwarden?" one of the
Battersea College students wrote, "A churchwarden is a godly layman, who
appropriates the money of the offertory, and acts as a check upon the
extravagance of the parochial clergy."

A friend of mine, when taking missions in Australia, met a clergyman in
Victoria who had an old Sunday-school teacher, a man who had taught for
thirty years, and who asked him one day whether infant baptism was not
invented by Philo at the Council of Trent.

The Warden of University College, Durham, asks the young men of the
College to breakfast occasionally. One day, when a few of them were at
his table, the following conversation took place: Warden to student,
"Have you ever read the Apocrypha?" Student to Warden, "Not all, sir."
Warden, "How much have you read?" Student, "Oh, not much, sir." Warden,
"Have you read the Maccabees?" Student, "No, sir." Warden, "Or Esdras?"
Student, "No, sir." Warden, "Or Wisdom?" Student, "No, sir." Warden,
"Well, have you read Bell and the Dragon?" Student, "Oh yes, sir, I've
read part of that." Warden, "How much?" Student, "Three chapters, I
think." Warden, "Then you've read more than any of us, for there is
only one chapter." Poor student!

In one of the examination papers I set as examining chaplain to Bishop
Selwyn of Lichfield, it being Michaelmas, I asked the candidates to give
an outline of a sermon upon the text, "Are they not all ministering
spirits?" One man wrote as follows: "I should consider this a good text
for a sermon for the Additional Curates' Society or the Church Pastoral
Aid. I should begin by describing in what our ministrations consist, and
should speak of the privilege of being called to minister to others. I
should then go on to speak of the heirs of salvation to whom we
minister, and I should conclude with an earnest appeal to the
congregation to provide funds for the sending forth of more such
ministering spirits."

A candidate for ordination was asked what he knew of St. Bartholomew,
and wrote, "He was almost, if not quite, identical with Nathanael."

Bishop Bickersteth of Ripon had occasion to reject a conceited young
deacon who was a candidate for priest's orders, and when the bishop
told him of his failure, he said, "I suppose, my Lord, you know that
Ambrose was made a bishop, though only a deacon." "Yes," the bishop
replied, "and I quite think that if ever _you_ are made a bishop it will
be direct from the diaconate."

Archdeacon Bather, who was a great educationist, went into his parish
school one day where there was an old and not highly educated master,
who was giving an oral lesson on the English language, in which, he said
to his class, there are many words pronounced the same, but spelt quite
different. "Now," he said, "there's the word 'har.' There's the har you
breathe, and the har of your head, and the har that runs in the fields,
and the har to an estate, all spelt quite different, but all pronounced
the same."

The Bishop of Brisbane, when he was in England before his consecration,
was examining in one of the Oxford Local examinations. He set the
candidates to write out the Fourth Commandment. One wrote, "Six days
shall thy neighbour do all that thou hast to do, and the seventh day
thou shalt do no manner of work."

    A number of stories in the Bishop's note-book are connected with
    Scotland and Ireland. Both of these countries were resorted to
    from time to time by him for purposes of the annual fishing
    holiday, and it is not too much to say that he made many friends
    in each among the ghillies and others who accompanied him on his
    various excursions on loch and riverside. Great was the
    amusement of two Highland boatmen, who many years ago were
    rowing him on a Sutherlandshire loch, when during an hour when
    the fish were very "stiff," he sang them, "Hame cam our gude mon
    at e'en," an old Scotch ballad by Wilson. The Irish boatmen, he
    used to think, were more melancholy, and he expressed his
    surprise at the character for rollicking fun which is often
    given them in books. At the same time he now and then drew out a
    real witticism, and more than once he notes with delight a real
    Irish "bull." Here are some of the stories, not all gleaned from
    the actual countries, but all referring to persons of these two

An Irish clergyman, a neighbour of mine, thought it his duty to speak to
a lady who had unhappily lost her faith in Christianity, and after a few
arguments he ended by saying, "Well, you will go to hell, you know, and
I shall be very sorry indeed to see you there."

A well-known Irish judge in the Insolvent Court once detected a witness
kissing his thumb instead of the Book in taking the oath, and in
rebuking him sternly said, "You may think to deceive God, sir, but you
won't deceive _me_."

The Reverend G. B----, of Bridgenorth, told me that on a recent visit to
Ireland he heard a preacher conclude his sermon with these words: "My
brethren, let not this world rob you of a peace which it can neither
give nor take away."

At the conclusion of the Irish Church Disestablishment in the House of
Commons an enthusiastic Irish member got up and thanked God that at last
the bridge was broken down which had so long separated Catholics and
Protestants in Ireland.

An Englishman was driving through a beautiful glen in county Wicklow,
and asked the driver the name of the valley, to which he replied, "Sure,
and it's the divil's glen, yer honour." A little further on the stranger
again asked, and the driver said, "Sure, and it's still the divil's
glen, yer honour." They afterwards drove through another valley, and the
stranger said, "And pray what do you call this?" "It's the divil's
kitchen, yer honour," was the reply. The stranger then remarked, "He
seems to have a good deal of property in these parts." "Indade, yer
honour, he has," said the driver, "but he's mostly an absentee, and
lives in London."

An Irish professor created a laugh, when called upon to speak at the
Birmingham Church Congress, by beginning, with a rich brogue, "Before I
begin to speak, let me say----" No one heard any more of the sentence.

At Bishop Lonsdale's first Ordination at his palace at Eccleshall there
were a large number of young men, and at dinner a young Irish deacon
called out from the other end of the table to the Bishop, "Me Lord, do
you happen to have read my sermon on Justification by Faith?" "No," said
the Bishop, "I don't happen to have met with it; but surely, Mr. ----,
you have chosen rather a difficult subject." "Not at all, me Lord," the
young deacon called out, "and when you've read my sermon you'll find no
difficulty in the subject at all!"

A former Dean (an Irishman) in one of his sermons, speaking, as he often
did, disparagingly of the Fathers of the early Church, said, "As for
unanimity, there was no unanimity in any one of them." In another sermon
the same dignitary spoke about "Standing on the seashore and watching
the ever-receding horizon." Again, in another he urged his hearers to
"take their immovable stand on the onward path of progress."

An Irishman of a certain church in Shrewsbury spoke one day of "the
narrow way in which there was only room for one to walk abreast."

A certain clergyman, who was preaching a sermon on behalf of a new
burial ground in a large parish, spoke of the sad condition of a
population of thirty thousand souls living without Christian burial.

I was driving in a car from Glengariff to Killarney with a friend, and,
on starting, a ragged boy on an old white horse rode by our side joking
with the driver. My friend spoke to the boy, and said, "Are you the
boots at the inn at Glengariff?" To which the boy answered instantly
with a grin, "Did yer honour pay the boots? For, if you didn't, I am."

    This ready reply is matched by the following story which again
    shows the readiness to seize an opportunity of personal

Bishop Wigram of Rochester insisted on his clergy shaving, and when his
successor, Bishop Claughton, came to confirm in Oswestry he sat at
luncheon opposite to an Irish curate who had a large beard. The bishop,
as a joke, looked across the table and said, "You know, Mr.----, if you
came into my diocese you would have to shave off your beard." To which
came the instant reply, "Me Lord, I accept the condition!"

At a Retreat which I conducted in 1894 one of the services was given out
to be held a quarter of an hour earlier than on the printed time-table.
An elderly clergyman had not heard this and came in at the printed hour,
and found us singing a hymn. He found a seat and then whispered to his
neighbour with a strong brogue, "Is this the end of the last service, or
the beginning of the next?"

I once heard an Irish clergyman preaching at Barmouth, in recounting the
mercies for which we ought to be thankful, speak of "deliverance from
savage wild beasts and noxious insects of the night."

    An instance of an Irish bull, which was of so natural a kind
    that it might have been made by any one, occurred when the
    Bishop and some of his sons were waiting at Athenry Station. Two
    farmers were overheard talking, and one said, "Will you be going
    by the first train to-morrow" To which came the reply, "There's
    no first train from here at all!"

    There are in the note-book a large number of entries under the
    heading of "Taurology," but most of the stories are already well
    known. One or two only need be quoted.

Two sisters whom I knew, Miss B----s, received a letter from a brother
in Australia, and one read it aloud to the other and then began reading
it to herself. The other said, "You might let me have a look at it,"
whereupon the first cried out, "I call that selfish: didn't I read it
all aloud to you before I'd seen a word of it meself?"

I asked a Mr. B---- whom I met in July 1896 whether he was any relation
to another Mr. B----, a friend of mine, to which he replied, "No: I have
no relations of my own. My father was the last of his race."

An Irish footman brought for his master to put on two boots for the same
foot. He was sent to rectify the mistake, but returned with the same two
boots, saying, "Indeed, yer honour, it wasn't my fault, the other pair's
just the same."

    The difference between Scotch and Irish character comes out
    clearly in these stories. Connected as they almost all are with
    matters ecclesiastical, it is not strange to find the strong
    Presbyterian dislike to Anglican ceremonial cropping up in the
    following stories about Scotsmen. But, apart from this, the wit
    is of a drier kind, and the sayings of a far more sanctimonious
    character. Here is one about an old forester with whom the
    Bishop made friends during several of his holidays. This man was
    invited by a certain duke, whose retainer he was, to pay a visit
    to his English seat. On the Sunday he was taken to church, and
    he said afterwards that when the choir came in he thought it was
    some daughters of the duke and other girls dressed up, and
    thought it all perfectly disgraceful and making a mock of
    religion. When the organ played they had to hold him to prevent
    his going out. "It was," he said, "sic a terrible noise." Other
    stories follow in the Bishop's own words:

The Duchess of B---- had an old Presbyterian nurse, who was once
persuaded to attend the beautiful church they had built. The Duchess
afterwards asked her if it was not very beautiful, and she said, "Oh
yes, very." "And the singing," said the Duchess, "was not that lovely?"
"Yes, your Grace," she said, "it was lovely; but it's an awfu' way of
spending the Sabbath."

A Scotch lady and her gardener used to worship together, not agreeing
with any form of Church doctrine. A friend remonstrated with her and
asked, "Do you really think you and your gardener are the only two real
members of the true Church on earth?" To which she replied, "Weel, I'm
nae sae sure o' John."

A Scotch minister from a large town once visited and preached in a rural
parish, and was asked to pray for rain. He did so, and the rain came in
floods and destroyed some of the crops; whereupon one elder remarked to
another, "This comes o' entrusting sic a request to a meenister who isna
acquentit wi' agriculture."

Bishop Wilberforce used to tell a story of a Scotch minister who always
regulated his grace before meat by the prospect before him. If he saw a
sumptuous table he began, "Bountiful Jehovah," but if the fare was less
tempting he began, "Lord, we are not worthy of the least of Thy

Archbishop Tait when in Scotland had to sign the receipt for a
registered letter before the postman, who, when he heard it was the
Archbishop, looked at him and remarked, "Weel, I must say you look
rather consequential about the legs."

    One of the Bishop's sons was fond of sketching, and on one
    occasion brought back a story which the Bishop delighted in
    telling. This son and an artist friend arranged to go on a
    sketching expedition to the west coast of Scotland, and on
    arriving there the latter went to interview the minister of the
    little village which was to be their headquarters. In the course
    of conversation he asked the minister whether, if they attended
    his ministrations in the morning, he would be greatly
    scandalised if they did a little sketching on the Sunday
    afternoon, to which the good man replied, "Well, your business
    is to paint pictures and mine is to preach and pray. I preach
    and pray on the Sabbath, you paint pictures on other days. If
    you saw me preaching and praying on other days you would raise
    no objection, so I shall raise none if you paint pictures on the
    Sabbath." It was a curious argument, and probably it would be
    difficult to find another minister in all Scotland who would
    agree with him.

    A number of stories relating to sermons have already been given,
    but a large part of the Bishop's notebook which relates to them
    has not yet been touched. There are some sermons given almost
    _in extenso_, and to these it is only possible to refer briefly.
    The longest report of a sermon is of one that was printed after
    it had been delivered by an old gentleman who married his cook
    and thought that it was necessary to justify his action to his
    parishioners. He described his bride as "one of plebeian birth
    and the superintendent of my establishment." He based his
    explanation on the fact that he himself was of such
    extraordinarily high birth that, in order to make his hearers
    comprehend how utterly incapable he was of appreciating the
    little social distinctions which existed in that parish he would
    tell them that he could no more appreciate such distinctions
    than, standing upon a mountain, he could judge of the heights,
    as compared with each other, of the mole-hills lying scattered
    around its base. Where, therefore, was he to a find a woman, and
    moreover a woman willing to take charge of a gouty old gentleman
    like himself, whose birth in comparison with his own was not
    plebeian? In the matter of his wife's little peculiarities of
    pronunciation, &c., he would just remind any satirists that
    their tenements were constructed of a material certainly not
    iron, and that to such persons the throwing of stones was a
    proverbially dangerous practice. He announced in conclusion that
    all these things were of small importance, as he and his wife
    had resolved to lead a life of almost absolute seclusion,
    devoting themselves entirely to her improvement, to the duties
    of their station, and to the preparation of their souls for

    Another long extract is given from a sermon preached at
    Llanymawddy. The original is said to be in the British Museum,
    and the copy made by Dr. Griffith of Merthyn. The sermon is
    headed "A funeral sermon for a dead body," and is a wonderful
    example of "English as she is spoke" by the Welshman. It begins
    with these words: "Good people of Llanymawddy. My dearly beloved
    brethren, we are met together here to-day for a great preachment
    for a dead body, the body of good Squire Thomas, the squire of
    our parish. We did all love him, though he has scolded us
    shocking, &c."

    The preacher went on to say that he knew the words of his text
    in three languages, "The Latin tongue which is the language of
    all learned people: I do know them in the English language--it
    is the language of all genteel people. I do know them in the
    Welsh language of course--it is the language of all vulgar

    Much of the sermon is given up to a description of Adam and Eve,
    the latter being described as "the beautifullest of all women,
    but she was a very peculiar woman. She wanted to know everything
    she ought not to know." The Garden of Eden is thus portrayed:
    "The garden of Squire Thomas was nothing to it: it would take
    twenty thousand of Squire Thomas' to make such a garden."

    It is altogether a most wonderful discourse, and it would be
    well worth anyone's while to hunt it up in the British Museum,
    if the original is really to be found there.

    Then there is an extract from a sermon preached by an Irish
    bishop, which, says Bishop Walsham How, "I heard described by
    one of his clergy who heard it." The point of the sermon was an
    illustration of the joy over the one repentant sinner by the joy
    in a household over the baby which had been ill and had
    recovered. The curious part of the story lies in the fact that
    at every mention of the baby the preacher dandled his hands up
    and down as if he were holding it. The constant repetition of
    this must have been trying to the gravity.

    A few more "sermon-notes" may find a place here just as they
    were jotted down by the Bishop.

A certain preacher, after describing all sorts of evil, exclaimed, "And
all this in the so-called nineteenth century!"

A working man refused to go to church because (he said) the parson could
tell him nothing in a sermon he didn't know. However, a friend persuaded
him to go, and asked him afterwards if he had learnt nothing. "Well,
yes," he said, "I did learn one thing. I learnt as Sodom and Gomorrha
was two places. I always thought they was man and wife."

It is said that Dean Goulbourn while preaching on the intermixture of
evil with good in the Church, said, "Remember, there was a Ham in the
Ark"--then, thinking it might sound odd, corrected himself and added, "I
mean a human Ham."


    As might be expected, a very large number of stories in the
    Bishop's note-book concern Episcopal dignitaries either past or
    present. It is unfortunate that some of the very best are told
    of bishops who are still alive, and, although there is not an
    ill-natured word on any single page, yet it might not be
    advisable to publish these anecdotes, lest this little volume
    should be open to the charge of want of respect for those in
    high places.

    How often a story is told of, say Bishop Wilberforce, and at its
    conclusion the narrator says, "Or perhaps it was Bishop Magee,"
    entirely forgetting the wide difference between these witty
    prelates, and spoiling the story by his uncertainty. It will be
    noticed that some of the better-known stories which are given
    below have Bishop Walsham How's own evidence of their origin,
    and it is possible that in some cases their publication may be
    useful as clearing up all doubts as to their source. For
    instance, he knew well both Bishop Wilberforce and Bishop
    Magee, and for the stories about them he frequently vouches.

The Bishop of Winchester (Wilberforce) is renowned for his wit. I was
one day dining in his company. He was to the right of the lady of the
house, Canon G---- to her left, and I next to him. Canon G---- was
talking to the bishop across the lady of the house about a very old man,
and observed that he was losing his faculties very fast, his senses of
taste and smell being so completely gone that some naughty boys in his
house, knowing that he always had a lightly boiled egg for breakfast,
blew it one morning and filled it with castor oil, and he never found
out. The bishop looked up with one of his merry twinkles and simply
said, "Never?"

On another occasion at a dinner party a young man was talking rather
foolishly about Darwin and his books, speaking very contemptuously of
them, and he said to the bishop, "My Lord, have you read Darwin's last
book on the Descent of Man?" "Yes, I have," said the bishop; whereupon
the young man continued, "What nonsense it is talking of our being
descended from apes! Besides, I can't see the use of such stuff. I
can't see what difference it would make to me if my grandfather was an
ape." "No," the bishop replied, "I don't see that it would; but it must
have made an amazing difference to your grandmother!" The young man had
no more to say. I could quote many more witty sayings of the bishop, but
they would give no idea of the real humour with which they were spoken,
so much depending on the bishop's inimitable manner and tone of voice.

Bishop Wilberforce, in one of his instructions upon preaching, gave
descriptions of what were _not_ sermons, before proceeding to describe
what _was_ a sermon. One of his sentences was this: "A few texts
floating here and there in the feeble waste of your own turbid
fancies--_that's_ not a sermon."

The same bishop, after preaching a very eloquent charity sermon, was
going from the pulpit to the altar when an enthusiastic lady, too much
moved to wait for the offertory plate, put a half-sovereign into his
hand, saying, "I _must_ give my mite," to which he replied, looking at
the coin, "I thought there were two of them."

A great friend of Bishop Wilberforce told me of a little bit of
cleverness of his which is worth recording. He was telling a story of an
Italian Marchesa, in which she made a clever repartee in French. The
bishop was known not to be very perfect in French, and my informant said
he awaited his enunciation of the French remark with some anxiety. But
he need not have been anxious, for the bishop discounted any
shortcomings by saying, "Then the Marchesa said--(you know her French
was not very perfect)----" and so made the quotation.

    Of Archbishop Magee the following stories are recorded by the

I was with Bishop Magee in a railway carriage once, and he had the
_Church Times_ and the _Rock_ on his knees. Before the train started a
newspaper boy held up a copy of _Church Bells_ to him, and he looked up
and said, "What's that? Oh, _Church Bells_. That's moderate, isn't it?
No, thank you; I like to read the extremes and do the moderation for

The same bishop at a dinner party had some soup spilt over his coat by a
clumsy servant, and exclaimed, "Is there any layman who would kindly
express my feelings in suitable language?"

Bishop Magee at a City dinner was sitting next to some one who had to
propose the health of Alderman Pigeon, of whom he knew very little. He
asked the bishop what he could say about him: "Oh," was the reply, "say
you hope he will some day find himself in a mayor's nest."

    Here is a story which is frequently quoted, and is inserted here
    for the sake of the guarantee of authenticity:

The Bishop of Peterborough (Magee), being plagued to go and open all
sorts of things--churches, schools, bazaars, &c.--exclaimed one day, "I
do believe very soon there will not be a young curate in the diocese who
has bought a new umbrella, who will not apply to the bishop to come and
open it." (Said to the Bishop of Leicester, who told me.)

Bishop Magee, walking one day with the Bishop of Hereford by the Wye,
said to him, "If you will give me your river I will give you my see."

The Bishop of Peterborough, being pressed to give a certain man a
living, said, "If it rained livings I would offer Mr. ---- (after a
pause) an umbrella." (This was said by the bishop in the Athenæum to a
friend of mine, who told me.)

A lady who was a great admirer of a certain preacher took Bishop Magee
with her to hear him, and asked him afterwards what he thought of the
sermon. "It was very long," the bishop said. "Yes," said the lady, "but
there was a saint in the pulpit." "And a martyr in the pew," rejoined
the bishop.

    Lastly, there is a touching little story of his self-estimation:

The Bishop of Peterborough (Magee), speaking of Bishop Harold Browne,
said he owed him a grudge, "for he's got all my sweetness of disposition
as well as his own."

    The remaining stories about bishops fall under two heads--first,
    those which are told definitely of some particular bishop;
    secondly, those which are told of "a bishop," and to which too
    much credit need not necessarily be given.

    Under the first heading come the following:

A certain bishop [the name is given] on his marriage determined to go
abroad, and he and his bride spent the first night at Folkestone,
meaning to cross next day to Boulogne. There was a great crowd on the
platform in the morning, and the bishop asked his wife to wait in a
certain spot while he went and saw to the luggage. He made some mistake
and could not find her, and, supposing she had gone on board, went to
look for her, when the vessel started and he was carried off to
Boulogne. His wife had to return ignominiously to the hotel, where she
received great commiseration from the landlady. The lady was quite sure
some accident had happened to her husband, and a messenger was sent to
see, and when he returned the landlady came in with a very grave face,
and said, "I am sorry to say, ma'am, there's been _no_ accident. But he
didn't look like a gentleman to do such a thing." Of course he returned
by the next steamer.

Bishop Selwyn of Lichfield was once asked how he came to give his
theological college men such an ugly hood--black and yellow like a wasp.
"Oh," he said, "I wanted to distinguish them from St. Bees' men."

It was said of Bishop Christopher Wordsworth of Lincoln that one half of
him was in heaven and the other half in the seventeenth century.

When Dr. Moberly, Bishop of Salisbury, was old and infirm, he went with
a friend to visit Old Sarum, and, as he was toiling up with the help of
his friend, the latter remarked, "It's hard work getting up Old Sarum,"
to which the bishop replied, "It's harder work getting old Sarum up!"

A certain suffragan bishop was mobbed one day in a low part of London by
costers, who told him they couldn't have him wear such a hat and dress.
He told them he was a poor orphan with neither father nor mother to look
after him and see to his clothes; so they let him go, saying, "We can't
chaff you, governor."

A witty bishop of the present day, being pressed to go to many parishes
for Confirmation, said that the final clause of the Baptismal Service
wanted altering, and should be worded, "Ye are to take care that the
bishop be brought to this child to confirm him," &c.

When Bishop Stanley first went to Norwich he went up the tower of the
Cathedral, and, hearing some jackdaws twittering in a hole in the wall,
and being very fond of birds, he put his hand in and drew out three
young jackdaws, which he took down in his pocket and put in the garden.
The next morning he could not find them, and, while looking round the
garden, heard, just outside, some boys making a noise. One was crying,
"Who stole Jim Crow's cadges?" (This is the local name for jackdaws.) So
he ran out and caught the boys, and found out the culprit, whom he had
up before the magistrates, and was going to have punished, when the
boy's father asked if he might ask a question, and, leave being given,
asked, "Can you tell me, sir, who the Cathedral belongs to?" "To the
dean," was the answer. "Then," said the man, "who stole the dean's
cadges?" This ended the matter, and the boy was dismissed.

Bishop Short (of St. Asaph) was much annoyed by his clergy seeking
promotion. One day he visited a certain parish with Archdeacon Wickham,
where the clergyman, as he knew, thought he ought to be promoted to a
better living. This clergyman pointed to his house and school, which he
had rebuilt, and said, "I think, my Lord, I have done pretty well in
this parish in building the parsonage and school." "Yes," said the
bishop, "indeed you have, and may you long live to enjoy the sight of
your labours."

When preparations were being made for the funeral of a former bishop of
Lichfield, a newly made archdeacon, who had held preferment in the Black
Country, was giving directions to the secretary in the cathedral. The
senior verger was standing by with some others. The archdeacon said to
the secretary, "You had better send post cards to the prebendaries
stating the exact hour," whereupon the verger turned to a gentleman
standing by and said, "Post cards to prebendaries! Well, if them's his
Black Country manners the sooner he goes back there the better!"

Bishop Pepys (of Worcester), who was a stout old man, was walking near
Hartlebury one day when the omnibus for Worcester passed, and the driver
was beating the horses most unmercifully. The bishop called out to him
that if he went on in that way he would have him up. The man told him to
hold his noise or he would give him the same. The bishop followed the
omnibus into the village and found it standing at the inn door, so he
called out the landlady and asked the name of the driver. She said she
did not know as he was a stranger, the regular driver being ill. So the
bishop walked on, and entered the drive up to the castle. Meantime the
landlady went to the driver and asked him what he had been doing, as the
bishop had been asking his name. "What," he said, "was that the bishop?
Why, I said I would lay into him next! Which way did he go?" So off he
ran, whip in hand, to beg the bishop's pardon. In a short time the
bishop heard steps following, looked round, saw the driver running
after him, and, remembering the man's threat, took to his heels and ran
as hard as he could towards the house. At last to his relief he heard
the man panting and puffing behind him cry out, "Oh, my Lord! I hope
you'll forgive me, my Lord!" So he pulled up and recovered his breath
and his dignity as best he could.

When the Act of Uniformity Amendment Act (Shortened Services Act) was
passed, a very short service was held in Westminster Abbey at 7.45 A.M.
to last only fifteen minutes, partly for the sake of the masters at the
school. Lord Hatherly always attended this service, but, although
perhaps the busiest man in England, did not like the abbreviations. The
new lectionary had lately come into use, and Lord Hatherly told the
Bishop of Lichfield (Selwyn) as they came out of the Abbey one morning
that he had discovered the true merits of the new lectionary. He said
that, the lessons beginning so often in the middle of a chapter, he
found that it took the reader so long to find his place that he (Lord
H.) had time to finish the Psalms (of which only a portion was used) to
himself. [In connection with the above story it may be noted that
Bishop Walsham How was at one time examining chaplain to Bishop Selwyn,
and may probably have been told it by him.]

I happened to be in London just at the time when the Diocese of St.
Alban's was created, and when Bishop Claughton, then Bishop of
Rochester, had his choice between Rochester and St. Alban's, but had not
decided which to be. I went to dine with Canon Erskine Clarke and met
there old Mr. Philip Cazenove, who took me in his carriage to a
reception at Bishop Woodford's. Mr. Cazenove knew both his Bible and his
Horace thoroughly. Almost the first person we met at the reception was
Bishop Claughton, and Mr. Cazenove shook him by the hand saying, "How do
you do, my Lord, sive tu mavis Rochester vocari sive St. Alban's." The
bishop, a First in Classics, was delighted. [It may be noted that Bishop
Walsham How had been curate to Bishop Claughton at Kidderminster, and a
close friend all his life.]

Miss Jacobson told me that her father, the Bishop of Chester, was once
talking with a foreign ecclesiastic who had a great admiration for Dr.
Pusey, whom he spoke of as _ce cher Pussy_.

A gushing young lady was visiting Bishop Philpotts at Torquay, and,
standing at a window at Bishop's Court, she exclaimed, "How beautiful!
It's just like Switzerland!" "Yes," said the bishop, "just like
Switzerland, except that here there are no mountains, and there no sea."

The Bishop of Bangor (Campbell) told me that when a former dean was
quite in his dotage he had got it into his head that the bishop was
dead. So he went and called upon him. The old dean was very courteous,
asking after his health and his daughter's, seeming to have quite
forgotten his delusion, when suddenly he seemed struck with the thought
that he was losing an opportunity and exclaimed, "Oh, by the way, you
are sure to be able to tell me who your successor is."

The late Bishop Hills one Monday morning was standing talking to Mr.
Pearson, the Vicar of Darlington, when a Mr. Maughan (pronounced Morn)
came up and handed the bishop some sovereigns, saying, "There, my Lord,
is our yesterday's collection for your fund." At once Mr. Pearson bowed
and said, "Hail, smiling morn, that tips the hills with gold!"

A former bishop of Nottingham was a large, fine man with a good deal of
dignity of manner. He one night found a burglar in his house, seized
him, threw him down, and, having managed to ring the bell, sat upon him
till help came. While so doing he asked the man if he knew who was
sitting upon him. The burglar said "No." "I am the Bishop of
Nottingham," said the bishop, whereupon (as the bishop told it) the
burglar used an expression not complimentary to bishops.

Bishop Temple of London is a very powerful man, and when he first
preached in Spitalfields Church some of the policemen came to hear him.
The rector, Mr. Billing, afterwards asked one of them what he thought of
the new bishop. "Well, sir," said the man, "I think it would take two of
us to run him in."

A former bishop of Exeter in old days was noted for saying severe and
sarcastic things in the blandest tones. Once when sitting with a friend
in an arbour in his garden he saw a party of strangers coolly walking
round his garden. He mentioned to his friend that he was frequently
annoyed by these unwarrantable intrusions, saying he would speak very
sharply to these people when they came past. As they reached the place
the bishop to their great dismay stepped out and confronted them. They
were profuse in their apologies, saying they knew his kindness and hoped
they were not intruding, "Oh, no," said his Lordship, "pray make it your
own: I will only ask one little favour: I should be greatly obliged if
you would not go through the house to-day, as a lady is seriously ill

    Apropos of this story it is worth recording that when Bishop
    Walsham How moved into the new house which was built for him at
    Wakefield a footpath which ran straight through the middle of
    the garden had to be diverted. The legal time for closing the
    old footpath had not arrived when the bishop first went to live
    in the house, and he was much beset by inquisitive people
    wandering about the whole place. There is a flower border round
    the house, edged with a raised stone edging. This stonework was
    kept thoroughly worn and dirty opposite to each sitting-room
    window, owing to it being used by the unobtrusive Yorkshireman
    as a standing place from which he could look into the rooms. The
    edging was not more than a few feet from the windows, so the
    nuisance became very great.

A bishop of Sodor and Man travelling on the continent found himself
entered in the book of a French hotel as _l'évèque du siphon et de

A story about suffragan bishops. Archbishop Tait's coachman, Wyatt, was
driving a gentleman one day when the latter asked about the horses, the
coachman saying, "We had a hard time of it some years ago knocking about
to Confirmations and Consecrations all over the country, but since we've
taken Mr. Parry into the business we've done better." (Mr. Parry was the
suffragan bishop of Dover.)

The Bishop of Bedford (Billing) when rector of Spitalfields was once
visiting a pickpocket who had been very ill, and on whom he thought he
had made some impression. One day Mr. Billing saw he was getting better
and said he hoped he would soon be able to get to work. "Oh, yes, sir,"
said the man, "it's a good time of year coming on, just when one meets
so many old gents coming home from dinner at night."

    Finally, here are two or three stories to which no name is

An ambitious young curate once complained to his bishop that he had not
sufficient scope for his energies, and would like a larger sphere of
work. The bishop quietly remarked, "Would a hemisphere do?"

A bishop once stayed at a house where they put out for him a set of
silver-mounted brushes. When he left, the brushes disappeared, and the
master of the house waited some days thinking he should receive them
back, but, not doing so, he wrote and inquired if they had got packed up
by mistake with the bishop's things. He received a telegram next day
saying, "Poor but honest; look in table-drawer."

A young lady sitting by a bishop-suffragan who was also an archdeacon,
asked him if it was true that he was an archdeacon as well as a bishop,
and when he said, "Yes," she said, "Is not that what they call

A certain bishop of the old school had a well-known and invariable
Confirmation charge, which began, "My dear young friends, we have been
engaged in a very interesting, and (as I hold it to be) a perfectly
unobjectionable ceremony."

A certain clergyman about to be married is said to have written to his
bishop to ask if he could marry himself, as he wished the wedding to be
very quiet, and did not want to trouble any other clergyman. The bishop
is said to have replied that he could not give him permission to marry
himself, but he thought he might allow him to bury himself if he wished
and felt able.


    These are not very numerous, and occupy a comparatively small
    portion of the note-book. Some of them have already appeared in
    the "Life of Bishop Walsham How."

I once visited the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and was going on afterwards
for a week's fishing in Dorsetshire. It so happened that my portmanteau,
in which were my dress-clothes, was locked, but a carpet-bag containing
all my fishing things was not locked. When I went up to dress for dinner
at the Palace I found that the butler had put out all my fishing clothes
with wading stockings and wading boots for me to dress in for dinner.

I received the following letter during the time that I was Bishop of

    May it please your Lordship,

    To inform me, my Lord, wether I have a legal right to a grave,
    or not, supposing my granfather of my mother's side, my
    Lordship, and the said granfather had no son, and my mother was
    the eldest daughter, and I am my mother's eldest child and only
    son, my Lordship, who would become in possession, of the said
    grave, my Lordship, supposing my father, loeses my mother, my
    Lordship, has he a legal right to bury my mother, in the said
    grave, if it is not left, in the aforesaid,--granfather's Will,
    my Lordship, hasn't the aforesaid granfather granson the Legal
    Right of the said Grave, my Lordship, has a Son-in-law, a Legal
    Right before a Granson, to the said Grave, my Lordship, has my
    sister a Legal Right, to have my Father, buryed in the said
    Grave, my Lordship, without the concent of her Brother, my
    Lordship, is that Grave invested with Vicar's Right's, so that
    no one can interfear with the said Grave, my Lordship, the said
    Grave has a Head Stone to it and there was a certain amount of
    Fee's to be paid, before, the said Vicar allows the said Stone
    to be put over the Grave, my Lordship, would not that Grave
    devolve and become Freehold Property, my Lordship, may it please
    your Grace to send me a reply

      from yours truly

    This letter is perfect sense, and was "translated" by the
    Bishop's legal secretary. Entire repunctuation will be found a
    great assistance to any one whose curiosity leads them to
    attempt to gather the meaning.

I have had a complaint from a layman to say that his rector in a sermon
recently preached explained the repetition of the Lord's Prayer in the
Church service by saying as follows: "The prayer occurs three times in
the morning service; one is for those who get to church in good time,
the second one is for the late, the third one is for the very late." My
correspondent did not think this profitable teaching.

A working man in East London being shown some photographs came to one of
the Bishop of Bedford (myself), and the clergyman who was showing the
photographs said, "That is the Bishop of Bedford, he is a total
abstainer you know." The man paused a moment and then said, "Ah, there's
reformed in all classes, no doubt."

A little girl at Eastbourne was at a church where I was preaching, and
in a whisper in the middle of the sermon begged her mother to let her
have a pair of sleeves like the bishop's.

An old woman, whom I confirmed lately in a Yorkshire parish, said to the
clergyman's wife at the end of the service, "A turned sick three times,
but a banged thro'."

I sent a curate to look at a church I wanted him to take charge of, and
he found a choirboy in the church who told him the Bishop had been there
the Sunday before. "And what did you think of him?" said the curate. The
boy replied, "A thought he'd a been a bigger mon."

I have received a letter from a man complaining that, having been
recommended to study "Daniel on the Book of Common Prayer," he had read
the book of Daniel all through, and could find no mention of the
Prayer-book in it.

Our forefathers seem to have had occasion for a curious instrument
called a scratchback, which consisted of a small ivory hand screwed on
to a long light handle. One of these is preserved as a curiosity at a
country house in this diocese. My domestic chaplain, when he first
called there, finding himself alone in the drawing-room, took up the
instrument, and never having enjoyed the experience proceeded to put it
down his back. At that moment the lady of the house entered, and my
chaplain hastily withdrawing the machine found the handle had separated
from the hand, which was left behind. He had to apologise, and ask
permission to retire that he might recover the missing hand.


    In common with most people whose names are well known, Bishop
    Walsham How received many letters from lunatics. He also met
    with a few and has recorded one or two of his experiences. One
    of these dates from somewhat early days, as will be seen from
    the reference to Dr. Christopher Wordsworth. It runs as

Once when I was staying at St. John's Wood I took an early omnibus to
Westminster, and as it was fine I got up outside and had for a companion
a very gentlemanly looking man of military appearance. He soon began to
talk about prophecy and the revelation, showing an intimate acquaintance
with the Bible, and at last he asked me if I did not think the time had
arrived for the Messiah to be again revealed in the flesh. I of course
deprecated all attempts to fix the date of the Second Advent, but he
persisted in his attempts to prove that the Messiah would again be
incarnate. I saw he was full of wild notions, but I was rather startled
when he asked me if I could name any one on earth who seemed to me to
answer to all the requirements I should look for in the Messiah, and
when I said, "Certainly not," he startled me still more by saying, "Now
I should be disposed to say Dr. Christopher Wordsworth" (then Dean of
Westminster) "answered most nearly, if it were not for his extraordinary
hallucination with regard to the millenium." Of course by this time I
saw the man was mad. However, I asked him if he could name any one more
perfectly answering to his expectation. He then asked me if I understood
the meaning of the Frogs in the book of Revelation, and, on my answering
in the negative, he said. "I ask myself what can you predicate of frogs?
Only two things, they croak and they jump. So when I hear any one clear
his throat, suddenly putting his hand up to his mouth, I say to myself,
'That is the sign of the frogs. The time is come'." He then said, "You
will allow, I presume, that the Messiah must appear from a mountain?" To
which I of course assented, as I did to everything else now. "And that
mountain must bear a name equivalent to Armageddon?" "Yes." "Do you know
what Armageddon means?" "No." "It is a name of the devil." "Oh!" "Well,
such a mountain exists." "Where?" "In the county of Tipperary, and at
the foot of that mountain I was born." He then went on with a long
rhapsody, saying, "Yes, I am the Messiah, though men won't believe it.
It's a most curious fact that, while the interests of humanity centre in
me, each man believes that they centre in himself. Yes, I am the
scape-goat. You know that goat was sent into the wilderness by the
priest. Ah! that event happened on" (here he mentioned very rapidly some
date which I forget). "I was the goat: moral wilderness, you
know--commission in lunacy. My brother was the priest--sent me into the
wilderness, &c. &c." He was now talking very rapidly and excitedly, and
I was glad our journey came to an end.

    The other incident recorded in the note-book occurred more
    recently, when on the Monday before Ash Wednesday the Bishop had
    been preaching in a London church, and a young man came to the
    vestry after the service to speak to him. The Bishop having
    asked him how he could help him, the young man laid one hand on
    the Bishop's knee, looked him earnestly in the face, and said in
    a loud impressive whisper, "To-morrow's pancake day, and the
    next day's salt-fish!"


    Few people remember dreams to the same extent as Bishop Walsham
    How. It was a very usual thing at breakfast for him to tell
    some absurd dream that he had had, the remembrance of which
    often amused him so much as to greatly hinder its recital. In
    his note-book he has recorded two, one of his own, and one of
    Bishop Jackson's (of London).

A Dream of Red Tape.--A clergyman is often rather beset with forms to
fill up. Probably in consequence of this I dreamt one night that I was
walking through a street with a lady, and, it having been raining, there
were many puddles. I stopped and said I had got some new forms in my
pocket which would be most useful. I then pulled out a large roll of
forms, printed as follows: "Madam, allow me to have the honour of
assisting you to----over this----." There was a line below for a
signature. I explained that you had only to fill up the first space with
"step" or "jump," and the second with "puddle" or "pool," according to
size, sign your name at the bottom and the thing was done.

    This is a comparatively recent entry in the note-book, but the
    dream occurred many years ago. Those who remember the Bishop
    telling it in old days will not have forgotten that he used to
    say that he dreamt it after spending a long day signing his name
    at the Oswestry Savings' Bank of which he was a trustee.

    Bishop Jackson's dream was as follows:

The Bishop of London, at the time of one of the great gatherings of
Sunday school children in St. Paul's Cathedral, dreamt that he was
there, and heard them singing a hymn, one verse of which was as follows:

  To our Churchwardens we will tell
    The wonders of this day,
  And eke to them will take the bill
    Of what they have to pay.


A Yorkshire clergyman the other day, visiting a poor man who had just
lost his little boy, endeavoured to console him. The poor man burst into
tears, and in the midst of his sobs exclaimed: "If 'twarna agin t' law a
should ha' liked to have t' little beggar stoofed."

A leading layman in the Wakefield diocese went to see a poor old woman
whose husband had just died after a long illness. In talking of him she
remarked, "Eh, but John's tabernacle tuk a deal o' riving to bits."

The Vicar of Sowerby Bridge met with a woman in his parish who said she
could not agree with the Church. On being pressed for particulars she
said she could not hold with renouncing the devil and all his works.

The Vicar of one of the large towns in the diocese of Wakefield was
having a pipe in his kitchen late at night when, about 11 P.M., there
was a knock at the door, and when he opened it he found two Salvation
lassies who said they had called to see if he would give them something
for their work. He said he was sorry he could not do so, though he
wished them well, and he asked if they found much drunkenness in that
town. "Yes," said one of them, "and also of its twin child of the devil,

A Yorkshireman (the story is told of Birstall) who had a scolding wife
met a mate one morning who looked rather sad, and asked him what was the
matter. The other said, "I've lost my old missus." To this the former
replied, "I'll swop my wick un for your dead un, and pay t' funeral
expenses too!"

    Another Birstall story:

When the present incumbent was appointed to Birstall, a man there said,
"We've had no Harvest Festival this time, as there was no vicar, but now
a new one is appointed I dare say we shall have a lot of them!"

A very wealthy manufacturer whose works were in the Wakefield diocese
was asked for a donation to a charitable object, and said they might put
down his name for two guineas. It was pointed out to him that his son
had already given twice that amount, and he might not like his name to
appear for less than his son's. "Oh, it's all right," he said; "you see
he has got a well-to-do father, and I haven't."

Two men went round a parish in Yorkshire, house to house, collecting a
fund for the repair of the churchyard wall. Presently they came to a
house where the man had just come in from work and was washing himself
in the back kitchen. Hearing the men in the front room he called out,
"What dost a want? Dost a want some o' ma brass? Nay, thee'll noan get
ma brass for yon job." One of the men replied, "Why, t' wall wants
mending badly." "Nay, man," answered the man in the back room, "them as
is in t' churchyard weant get out, and them as isn't in doant want to
get in. Tha, man, let it bide."

A clergyman in Yorkshire, visiting a dying man, observed him putting his
hand out of the bed and eating something from time to time, so he said
he was glad to see he could eat a little, when the man with a funny look
said, "They're my funeral biscuits. The missis went to the town and
bought them, and she's out to-day, and I'm eating them."

A poor woman at Halifax talking of her husband, said he had tried
everything--he had been a churchman, then a Wesleyan, then a Baptist,
and now he was a Yarmouth bloater. (She meant Plymouth brother, but had
got her seaports mixed.)

A girl in Hebden Bridge came to the vicar to put up her banns of
marriage. When all was done she lingered at the door and the vicar said,
"Well, Mary, is there anything more?" To this she replied rather shyly,
"Please, sir, will t' same spurrings do for another chap?" (_Spurrings_
is a Yorkshire word for banns, and is really _speerings_ or

At Thornhill an old woman lost her brother and went continually to talk
to him at his grave. One day she was overheard saying, "Eh, William, t'
pigs turned out well. We'd a bit o' spar rib yesterday, and a wish thee
could ha' tasted it. And a've sold t' hams, William."

A former vicar of Dewsbury at a funeral in a cemetery, where the grave
was under the wall of the chapel, remarked to the widow, "It's a nice
sheltered spot." "Ah, yes," she answered, "my poor husband never could
bear a draught."


    The remainder of the stories in the note-book are concerning
    such varied matters that it is impossible to classify them, and
    they are given here--such of them as it is deemed right to
    publish--as a concluding chapter of this little volume:

A friend of mine met with a timber-merchant one day, who said he thought
the Old Testament was not very historical, and contained things no one
could believe. He said, for instance, that he had made rather accurate
calculations of the size and weight of the Ark, and it was simply absurd
to think that the Israelites could carry such a huge thing about with
them in the wilderness for forty years, even without the animals.

At a funeral of a wife the undertaker put the bereaved husband in the
first carriage with his mother-in-law. When the widower heard of the
arrangement he remonstrated with the undertaker, and asked if he could
not go in one of the other carriages. Being told that this would be
remarked upon, as the nearest relatives always went in the first
carriage, he yielded, saying, "Ah, well, if it must be so, it must; but
you've quite spoilt my day for me."

A clergyman of very unclerical habits was salmon-fishing in Scotland in
1872, and made use of strong expressions which very much disgusted the
ghillie who accompanied him. At last the clergyman, on losing a fish he
had hooked, made use of a very improper word when the ghillie could
stand it no longer, but broke out with, "I'm thinking there maun ha'
been a sair lack o' timber when they made thee a prop o' the

The Rev. R. Bonner, our late Government School Inspector, hired a gig
from Shrewsbury to drive to inspect a school. The driver in the course
of conversation informed him that they had got a new clergyman in his
parish who did all sorts of strange things. On Mr. Bonner asking him
what, he said, "Why, sir, he makes them sing the Psalms all through."
Mr. B. answered, "Don't you think the Psalms were meant to be sung?" To
which he replied, "I never heard that before, sir." Mr. B. then said,
"Surely David wrote them for music." "Who did you say, sir?" the man
answered. "David," said Mr. B., "You know they are called the Psalms of
David." Whereupon the driver said, "Oh, yes, sir, I was forgetting.
Didn't a gentleman of the name of Hopkins help him?"

A former curate of mine, the Rev. G. E. Sheppard, left to go to All
Saints, Shrewsbury, where I went to see him. On the wall of his room was
a picture with these words underneath:

  The Queen was asked upon one day
  Where the greatness of Old England lay,
  And very soon she was heard to say,
  It lays within the Bible.

A sceptical working man told a curate who was talking to him about our
Lord's life that he had a curious old book at home by a writer called
Herodotus, but, though it was very old it did not even mention any of
the miracles recorded in the New Testament.

A young clergyman was accused by his vicar of using too long words in
preaching, "felicity" being given as an example. He was sure every one
understood the word, so the vicar called up an old woman and asked her
if she knew what "felicity" meant. She said, "Beant it summut in the
inside of a pig?"

An organising secretary of the Additional Curates' Society told me of a
wonderful experience of another secretary of the same society. He was
asked to stay at a gentleman's house in Worcestershire, and, when shown
in, his host said he was sorry he could not shake hands with him, as he
made it a rule to shake hands alternately with the right hand and the
left, and he could not remember which he had used last. Then, as they
went in to dinner, he told him it was the rule of the house always to
make the sign of the cross with the foot on the floor at the dining-room
door. After he had gone up to bed his host came in many times to offer
him a night-shirt, a razor, &c. At last he thought he had got rid of him
and went to sleep. But at midnight his host came and told him it was the
rule of the house that at twelve o'clock all should change beds, and he
actually had to turn out and go into another bed.

A woman wishing good-bye to a clergyman's wife when they were going to
another parish, said to her, "We shall all miss Mr. ----'s sermons very
much, for, you know, intellect is not what we want in this parish."

A certain rector, who was not a lively preacher, always closed his eyes
when saying the Prayers. His curate wrote the following epigram:

  I never see my rector's eyes;
    He hides their light divine:
  For, when he prays, he shuts his own,
    And, when he preaches, mine.

A man who had been a great drunkard was persuaded to take the pledge,
and some time afterwards a lady went to see the wife, and asked her how
they were getting on, to which she replied, "Oh, ma'am, we're getting on
right well. He never beats me now, and never swears at me. I say he's
more like a friend than a husband now."

A gentleman was invited to a Church function, and wrote and excused
himself as he was going to the races, "but," he added, "I shall be with
you in spirit."

An old verger whom I knew lost his wife, and a clergyman went in the
evening after the funeral to condole with him. As he reached the door he
heard very lively voices inside, and on opening it the first words he
heard were from the old verger himself who was exclaiming, "What's
trumps?" The room was full of tobacco smoke, and as soon as the verger,
to his horror, saw his vicar standing at the door he said very humbly,
"Oh, sir, I beg pardon; it's only a few friends as helped to put my poor
wife underground."

A former Archdeacon of Gloucester had on his paper of inquiries
addressed to the churchwardens this question: "Is your clergyman of
sober life and conversation?" One churchwarden answered, "He is sober,
but I have had no conversation with him for many years."

An enthusiastic total abstainer had a bit of blue ribbon sewn on his
nightshirts, for, he said, if the house was on fire and he had to escape
in his night-dress, he would like people to see that he was a member of
the blue ribbon society.

A Mr. Manning was curate of my old parish of Whittington at the time the
present form of marriage registers came into use, and, not understanding
the heading "Condition," he filled up that column in the first entry,
"Man lean, woman rather fat."

An Act of Parliament against making false entries in registers, or
mutilating them, is bound up with many Registers. The penalty is
transportation for ten years. Towards the end of the Act is a short
clause (with the word "penalties" in the margin) saying, "Half the
penalties under this Act are to go to the informer, and the other half
to the poor of the parish."

At a charity sermon a certain nobleman was in a seat with a rich man
whom he did not know, but who knew him, the nobleman being furthest from
the door. At the close of the sermon the nobleman took out a shilling
and placed it on the book-board. The rich parvenu was very indignant,
and as a rebuke took out a sovereign and placed it on the book-board.
The nobleman looked for a moment and then quietly put down another
shilling, the other putting down at once a second sovereign. And so they
went on till the nobleman had five shillings and the other five pounds
before him. When the alms-bag came the rich man ostentatiously put the
five sovereigns in. The nobleman put one shilling into the bag, and the
other four into his pocket.

Some Americans managed to get an interview with Mr. Keble at Hursley. He
walked with them through the garden, when one of them picked a branch of
a climbing rose, and said, "Now, if you will have the goodness to hand
that to me I can get five dollars for it in New York."

The vicar of an East London parish was one of the first London clergymen
to grow his beard. The then Bishop of London wished to stop the
practice, and, as he was going to confirm in that church, sent his
chaplain to the vicar to ask him to shave it off, saying he should
otherwise select another church for the Confirmation. The vicar replied
that he was quite willing to take his candidates to another church, and
would give out next Sunday the reason for the change. Of course, the
bishop retracted.

The old Mitre Hymn-book had in it a hymn describing the just man, and,
among the noble Christian graces ascribed to him, is the following

  And what his charity impairs
  He saves by prudence in affairs.

A Professional View of a Church Congress.--At the Bath Church Congress a
friend of mine went to have his hair cut, and, finding that the barber
had been to a session of the Congress the evening before, he asked him
what he thought of it. He replied, "I was greatly struck, sir, with the
number of bald heads."

A clergyman travelling in the North of England got into conversation
with a fellow traveller, and told him about St. Cuthbert, and then was
beginning to tell him about the Venerable Bede, when the other remarked,
"I think, sir, you are mistaken. You will find that Cuthbert and Bede
were the same person." He was doubtless thinking of "Cuthbert Bede," the
_nom de plume_ of Edward Bradley, the author of "Mr. Verdant Green."

Jowett of Balliol was once asked by a friend if he thought a really good
man could be happy on the rack. He said, "Perhaps, if he were a _very_
good man, and it was a _very_ bad rack."

One of the speakers at the meeting of the Catholic Truth Society at
Bristol (Sept. 1895) told a story of a pious Catholic visiting
Westminster Abbey, and kneeling in a quiet corner for private devotion,
when he was summoned in stentorian tones to come and view the royal
tombs and chapels. "But I have seen them," said the stranger, "and I
only wish to say my prayers." "Prayers is over," said the verger.
"Still, I suppose," said the stranger, "there can be no objection to my
saying my prayers quietly here?" "No objection, sir!" said the irate
verger. "Why, it would be an insult to the Dean and Chapter."

In Doylestown, United States of America, cemetery is a square enclosure
with four tombstones at the four corners recording the deaths of the
four wives of one man. In the centre stands a large monument, with name
and dates of birth and death, and the touching words,

  "Our Husband."

A certain well-known preacher of somewhat exciting sermons was invited
by the Vicar of Willenhall to preach in his church. One of the
parishioners afterwards describing the effect of the sermon upon him to
his vicar said, "It was a main fine sarment, sir, but he first speak in
a whisper like, and then he shouted that loud as made me hop clean off
my seat. So the next time I watched him, and when I heerd him
a-whisperin' I see it a-comin', and I ketch right tight howd of the seat
a this'n" (suiting the action to the word), "and then it didna do me no

Mr. Edward Haycock, jun., the architect, of Shrewsbury, in speaking to a
builder about the restoration of a church, was fairly puzzled by the man
recommending that a certain addition should be made with a le-anto roof.
Mr. Haycock did not like to acknowledge his ignorance of this sort of
roof, and he asked the man to describe how he would manage it, when he
soon saw that the man was talking of a lean-to roof.

An old lady in Shrewsbury once complained to my father about Christmas
Day falling on a Sunday, and said that it never was so in her younger
days, and she supposed it was the Radicals that had done it. On my
father saying that it had been so sometimes before, she said, "Well,
perhaps I'm wrong, for my memory is getting very bad, and I have a
distinct recollection of Good Friday once happening on a Sunday."

The Vicar of Highclere once took duty in a church where he thought he
had only morning and afternoon sermons to provide. Finding there was
also an evening service, and not being prepared with a third sermon, he
gave out in the morning that there would be no sermon in the evening,
and then immediately gave out the hymn, "O day of rest and gladness,"
which caused some smiles.

A friend of mine was taking a mission for the vicar of a parish in
Bolton. As they were walking together down the street they met an old
woman, and the vicar asked her after her husband, who was very ill,
saying, "I am afraid he is very ill." "Yes, sir," she answered, "but I
do my best for him: I read the Burial Service to him every day to get
him used to it."

A certain clergyman was said to be invisible for six days of the week,
and incomprehensible on the seventh.

An old gardener, whose master was dead, and who was engaged to continue
with his successor, was seen by his new master one day measuring some
young trees in the garden. When asked what he was doing, he replied,
"Well, sir, I don't think I'm long for this world, and when I go up
there the first thing the old master will ask me will be, 'How are the
young trees getting on?'"

A Coincidence.--I was once reading the lessons in Kidderminster Church
when the organ ciphered, and one note went piping on all the time I was
reading. It happened that the lesson was Job xxi., and I quite broke
down at verse 12. ("They ... rejoice at the sound of the organ.")

When the new vicar went to Cantrip he found Church matters in a very
primitive state. After a short time he introduced "Hymns Ancient and
Modern." One day one of the farmers met him, and said, "What is this new
hymn-book, sir? I don't like it." The vicar, thinking he was in for a
theological discussion, said, "What don't you like?" "Why," said the
farmer, "I don't like them words." "What words?" "Why, them words as
they sing now; I am not used to them." Being pressed as to the
particular words, he at last confessed that he never had sung _any_
words at all before, but only "one, two, three, four," and he thought
having any words at all a very dangerous innovation.

A Cornish rector had a tickling cough, and was recommended by his doctor
to go to Exeter and have his uvula cut, which he did. Some time
afterwards another patient, suffering in the same way, applied to the
same doctor, who wrote a little note to the rector, asking him who had
shortened his uvula, and how it had succeeded. The doctor wrote a
very bad hand, and the clergyman read "roller" for "uvula." It happened
that he had lately had a stone roller shortened that it might pass
through a garden gate, so he wrote back, "Dear sir, it was done by a
stonemason in the village. He cut off eighteen inches, and it is now six
feet long, and answers thoroughly."

Mr. Burgon had a class of young ladies at Oxford, and had occasion to
mention the Targums, when he stopped and said, "By the way, do any of
you young ladies know what a Targum is?" One of them replied, "It's a
bird with white wings, rather larger than a partridge."

A curate at Witney in 1888 called upon a parishioner for the first time,
and found him at home. The man received him with the utmost coolness,
proceeded to take down a bust of Disraeli from a shelf, placed it on the
table before the curate, and said, "Now, sir, be you for 'im, or be you
for t' other un?" This was to determine whether to be friendly or not.

The late Mr. William Lyttelton, Rector of Hagley, told me one day that
he had just met an old lady who stammered very badly. She told Mr.
Lyttelton that she had just lost a cousin, and, being distressed, had
sent for her clergyman to console her. "And what d-d-do you th-think the
man d-d-d-d-did, Mr. Lyttelton?" she said. "I'm sure I don't know," he
replied. "Why, he read me all ab-b-bout D-d-david and B-b-b-bathsheba! A
very g-g-good man, you know, Mr. Lyttelton, b-b-but not j-j-judicious!"

A friend of mine, an Archdeacon, at a dinner of professors at Göttingen,
sat by Wieseler, who descanted on the excellence of the English Church,
and was especially charmed with what he heard of bishops sinking their
personality and becoming known only by the name of their sees. He
himself had learnt more from one of them than from any foreign writer:
he referred to the great Thomas Carlyle.

The present Vicar of Almondbury went to a barber's shop in Chatham to
have his hair cut at the time that he was curate there. The artist asked
him if he had known his son at Oxford, and explained that he had meant
him for his own profession, but he hadn't the brains for it, so he sent
him into the Church.

  =Transcriber's Notes:=
  hyphenation, spelling and grammar have been preserved as in the original
  Page 9, foun among others ==> found among others
  Page 51, trying to the congregration ==> trying to the congregation
  Page 67, Answer: Because they didn't ==> Answer: "Because they didn't
  Page 58, To this she answered == To this she answered,
  Page 82, you wont deceive ==> you won't deceive
  Page 87, the same. ==> the same."
  Page 89, 'Weel, I must say ==> "Weel, I must say
  Page 125, said, ""I've lost ==> said, "I've lost
  Page 142, young ladies at at Oxford ==> young ladies at Oxford
  Page 143, D-d-d avid ==> D-d-david

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