IT IS THE CUSTOM now to write and to read autobiographies. All sorts and conditions of men are now passing before the public eye and it is no longer considered conceited to write about oneself. Perhaps the world is a gainer, for in this democratic age, any life lived honestly, courageously and joyously, with real effort and achievement, is both interesting and inspiring. So that any personal reminiscences, if they are simply a record of memories and experiences, can hardly incur any criticism of self laudation. It is scarcely necessary to say that the writer has had no heroic career to set forth and that the greater part of his reminiscences refer to others who have figured in his life, in the past and in the present.
Perhaps a reason for this little book is that the Author is facing the setting sun. Still full of the joy of life, still blessed with strength and vigour, still engaged in active service, he knows nevertheless that the sands in the hour glass are running low and that all things come to an end. Perhaps through the realization of this, as the years grow apace, the mind is full of memories, of persons, of places, of things, of events, coming out of the past, in the journey of life: memories sometimes joyful, sometimes sad, memories which may be interesting to others as well as to oneself. Such a little record may commend itself as being in a limited way a side light or picture of Philadelphia in the years that have past.
In a way my life and work have been somewhat unique, and all the more that with large opportunity my ministry has been spent in an humble sphere. Yet I fancy that not many of my brother Priests have had as varied experiences, have travelled so widely, have met so many kinds of people, and have been so fortunately situated. And few, I think, have spent their entire Ministry--in my case, thirty-five years--in one place (turning down all "calls" elsewhere), or have had the privilege not only of developing a Parish from the beginning, but also of building a Church like Saint Alban's, often called "an architectural gem," which when the Author has long departed this life, will stand as "a thing of beauty" and "a joy forever."
When the span of years is well sped it is often both pleasant and amusing to review the past. It may be saddening to remember the mistakes, the failures and the sins which in varying degree mar the life of all of us, but it is also joyful to recall the happy days that have passed, and to revive memories of persons, places and events that have figured in one's life. After all, everything in a way is "bitter-sweet," but a wise practice is to dwell in the sunshine and not in the shadows I It may be that the reminiscences of an ordinary Parish Priest will not be unwelcome, especially to those who have been contemporaries.
And when well-known persons of the past and present cross the pages, let those who read be assured, that for all there may be criticism, comment and perhaps humour, everything is meant to be in the spirit of kindness, with no breach of the law of charity.
Perhaps a brief reference to one's early days may be helpful in establishing a background. For after all, that which has gone before has a large influence upon that which follows after, for past, present and future, as we call them, are intimately related. In this country it does not much matter into what state of life one is born, for opportunity awaits those who can grasp and use it, and praise is given to those who acquit themselves well, especially in the face of great difficulty and impediment. My lot therefore has no special merit or honour, for being cast in easier paths and amid more fortunate surroundings, there has been more the following of traditions and conventions which obtain in certain circumstances, rather than the call to the courage and perseverance which overcome obstacles and make for greatness or renown.
It was on July 11, 1865, shortly after the battle of Gettysburg, that the writer of these sketches was born in Philadelphia and began his life. Excepting during vacations, my entire time has been spent there. I am very much like the Englishman, who when a polite Frenchman said that if he had not been born a Frenchman he would have liked to have been an Englishman, replied with characteristic frankness: "If I had not been born an Englishman I would have liked to have been one!" So I feel that if I had not been born in Philadelphia, I would have liked to have been born there I For in this place of brotherly love one is a "citizen of no mean city." He may be widely travelled, he may love many places, he may admit the merits of other great centres, but to a real Philadelphian, Philadelphia is a dearly-loved home!
While I cannot call it a "reminiscence," the first record of note seems to have been my choice of politics when an infant. For when photographs of Lincoln and McClellan were shown me, I stretched out my hand for that of the latter (a fine-looking soldier) and was after that called "the little Democrat." And although all of the members of my family were Republicans, it was a Democrat I became when grown up. So perhaps this was a "trend" starting in 1865 and finding me in 1935 an ardent admirer of President Roosevelt and his policies!
Everyone has ancestors! Japanese worship them, Philadelphians value them, and all men have them, for better, for worse. In the quite early records of my family was a gentleman named Blossom, so as my Father used to say, "we all sprang from a blossom!" One of my ancestors came over with the Pilgrim Fathers. Another was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. I doubt if either one would like Saint Alban's or its Rector! Still another ancestor on my grandmother's side, a Lambert, gave his name to Lambertville, New Jersey, the name being better than the place! And through the descendants on my father's side, and those on my mother's side, and later through my own marriage, there is relation or connection with a lot of people in true Philadelphia style. In the story most of the strains are English, with a little Irish from a grandfather who, I believe, was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and a tiny bit of German from my connection with the Baker family. Contrary to what my name implies, there was nothing Scotch. All of these blends, let us hope, resulted in true American, of which there have now been many generations.
In reviewing very casually my relatives and connections, while I find that they were business men and bankers, and one who was some kind of a general, and another who belonged to the City Troop, none seems to have entered the Sacred Ministry! And from present indications, it looks as if I am destined to be the one and only Priest in the family-which may or may not be a fortunate thing! My grandfather was a banker, my father was a banker (each one at times engaged in business but each one later the President of a National Bank), and my brother was a banker. And perhaps to play a little true to form, when I was once in business, as I was for twelve years, I was also a director of a National Bank. The duties of the latter were not very arduous and the annual dinner, with speeches, terrapin and champagne was quite compensating. I also became at that time a co-trustee of three Estates, so at least I gained considerable experience in a small way in the world of finance. I mention all of this as it is a somewhat unusual preparation for the Ministry but most helpful in many ways.
It seems strange to realize the changes that cover the space of an ordinary life. As I look back to the days when I was a boy or a young man some of the conditions seem almost impossible to believe. I remember the time when there were no electric lights, no telephones, no trolley cars, no automobiles, no radios; when the crack steamships of the Cunard and White Star Lines were as small as 5,000 tons; when railway cars were small and of wood; when engines (no, locomotives!) had high smoke stacks and projecting "cow-catchers"; when dear old aristocratic Philadelphia was paved with cobblestones and most of its homes were red brick with marble trimmings; when there was a scarcity of bath tubs, even the best houses possessing sometimes only one, or at most, two; when we had the Dreyfus case in discussion; when women disfigured themselves with bustles, mutton-chop sleeves and choker collars; when Ward McAllister ruled that only four hundred families were in New York Society; when the Democratic party was dubbed that of "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion"; when homes were lighted with gas and heated with hot air, excepting those of the poor which had oil lamps and stoves; when the majority of Churchmen looked askance at any service that did not begin with "Dearly beloved brethren"; when horses had the "epizooty"; when criers went through the streets calling "Fresh Shad" or "Strawberries"; when frock coats and "toppers" were "de rigeur" for a well-dressed man; when for a lady to reveal an ankle would make her a centre of attention; when only "cigarette fiends" smoked cigarettes and "real men" smoked cigars -these are but a few of the differences showing the changes since those good old days!
When I was about ten years old, the United States had less than 40,000,000 population; Rutherford B. Hayes was President; Queen Victoria, the Emperor Francis Joseph, King Victor Emmanuel, Kaiser William I, the Czar Alexander II, were reigning sovereigns; Pius IX was Pope; Mexico had but a few years before executed the Emperor Maximilian; Dom Pedro was ruler of Brazil; and Servia, Roumania and Montenegro were Turkish Principalities.
It is now really laughable to recall my attendance at a meeting in the Academy of Music to protest against the introduction of the trolley car, on the ground that the overhead wire was dangerous to the community! As I always have prided myself upon being open to every advancement that made for the bettering of life or people, such action is very funny. Yet as one looks back, one sometimes wonders if the world was not better as well as happier before the great age of "advance" and "improvement." Somehow the thought intrudes that in the loss of simplicity was also the loss of beauty, dignity and contentment.
I was educated at Rugby Academy, Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania, where I entered the Class of '85. In those days Rugby Academy, the Episcopal Academy, Dr. Ferris's and the Penn Charter were the four rival schools. Rugby gave one a splendid education, the Episcopal Academy was not a training school for Bishops, Dr. Ferris instilled the three R's and the Classics with the aid of caning and spanking, and Penn Charter was a Quaker establishment but taking pupils of any religion. The Episcopal Academy was then in charge of the Reverend James W. Robins, an assistant at Saint Mark's, a very scholarly and spiritually-minded Priest and a very charming gentleman of the old school.
The Class of '85 at the University will always be known as one of the most notable classes. It stood well in scholarship, it excelled in athletics, and its "personnel" included "all sorts and conditions of men," with a large sprinkling of well-known families. In Cricket '85 had most of the finest players of the day, many of whom went to England on the international teams. The Class of course is scattered, many have died, some cannot be traced, but we generally meet together each spring and at dinner revive old friendships and memories of the past. Many members have distinguished themselves in various prominent walks of life and quite a number have entered the Priesthood of the "Episcopal Church." At our last dinner, which occurred recently, we commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of graduation. There were then present three of the six members who were Priests of the Episcopal Church. An interesting observation, which shows the "vintage" of the Class, was that most of those present wore high shoes, smoked cigars instead of cigarettes, and refreshed themselves with whiskey and soda.
College days are about the same at all Universities. Our studies and our pranks would hardly interest many outside of those who took part. One event, I will record, however, since I fancy it was quite out of the usual run. This was the "cremation" of the Class of '85 when sophomores. Picture the members in cap and gown and carrying oil flares marching out Walnut Street to go to the University Buildings in West Philadelphia. Preceding them were some of the Class dressed as skeletons, bearing make-believe coffins, containing the Latin books of Professor Jackson and the English books of Professor McElroy. In front of these was a band playing the dead march. On reaching the University, a great fire was lighted on the "campus" and the coffins were burned, while we undergraduates danced like devils about them, singing Latin hymns.
All the members of our family were devoted to our father and mother and I think that few persons can look back to a happier home. (One of my greatest joys has been the rebuilding of Saint Alban's as a Memorial to my parents, the Church proper to my father, George Lambert Knowles, the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament to my mother, Matilda Josephine Knowles.) We were fortunate in having such loving and lovable parents, well travelled and highly cultivated, happy in their home, delighted to have their children with them, taking the greatest interest in our lives, and always ready to help in all that made us happy. My father will be remembered by many as a most distinguished-looking man, handsome and dignified, but very gracious and easy of approach. He had an enviable record in business and banking. He retired comparatively early in life and devoted himself to his private affairs. He had a collection of fine paintings and books and loved beautiful things. He belonged to many of the best clubs but rarely went to any of them. He loved to go abroad. He alsoloved horses and driving,and in thedaysbefore the motor, he was a well-known figure in Fair-mount Park as he drove a spanking pair of horses, in his Stanhope, with his footman behind. At one time he was Vestryman of Saint Clement's Church, but although he left that Parish and belonged successively to Saint James's and Holy Trinity, at heart I think he was always in sympathy with what was then called "High Church," which he came to understand much better after my Ordination to the Ministry. He was generous and charitable in every way and gave a great deal to the Church. To me, he will always be the embodiment of a true Christian gentleman. I love to look at the window at Saint Alban's, placed to his memory, wherein is the text: "The path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." My mother had many of the same characteristics. Her greatest joy was to make her husband and her children happy. Few ever appealed in vain for help, although often no one knew from where the help came. One of her little ways was to put a substantial sum in an envelope and give it to one of us, or for some charity as a "surprise." She loved travelling and reading. Some very happy memories are associated with seeing her abroad. I had the privilege of ministering to my mother, during her last years. As I think of the little Masses I had for her and of giving her the Holy Communion, I like to see the Chapel erected to her memory and to hope that perhaps I helped her to realize the text: "Thou shall show me the path of life: in Thy Presence is the fulness of joy, and at Thy right hand there is pleasure for evermore." (Psalm XVI.)
The Philadelphia Assembly is the most "exclusive" ball given in America. For years these balls were held in the Foyer of the Academy of Music, but now the Ballroom of the Bellevue-Stratford is used. In these days of careless manners it is refreshing to see the more formal and polite ways which still obtain at the Assemblys, as for instance the very low bow or curtsey to each of the patronesses in the reception line. An Assembly is always a ball of great beauty and a feature is the attendance of so many elderly persons who go to no other "party." And even when one stops going, the "old timer" generally asks "how was the terrapin?" and "did they play the 'Blue Danube'?" For an Assembly without terrapin or the "Blue Danube"--"it is impossible!"
When I left college I entered business life and enlivened this time by going out in Society. I did not particularly like the first but was very fond of the latter. This was not strange, for Philadelphia Society, although quite exclusive, has always been very delightful. One who has the entree can hardly fail to enjoy himself. And especially was this so in those now long-distant "eighties" and "nineties," with all the grace, charm and dignity which then marked Philadelphia Society, whether it was in the famed "Assemblys" or smaller balls and parties, the opera, or even in its Cricket Matches. We doubtless live in a better age for "all sorts and conditions of men" but for some those bygone decades will ever be full of pleasant and happy memories. It is interesting in looking back to see the helpful influence of those business and social contacts upon one's work in the Sacred Ministry! One came to know life, one came to know people, one obtained a balanced judgment.
With all my engagements in business and Society, I managed always to find time to be a regular attendant at Saint Mark's Church, and also to be keenly interested in various humanitarian works. These were chiefly at Old Saint Peter's, at Saint Mark's Mission and in an organization of religious Society people called "The Southwark Reading Rooms." The object of this work was to bring the very poor into touch with the Church, to give them a little pleasure through games, reading and informal lectures, and to brighten up their lives in this cheerful environment. Of course, this was back in the "gay nineties," gay only for the favoured few, and long before the advent of many of those things that m recent years have so changed the life of the working classes. The Sisters of Saint Margaret were in charge of the work of Saint Mark's Mission. It is notable that those who helped there and at the two other places named were all so-called "Society people," often spending the early part of the evening in this mission work and then going home to dress and attend a ball! One little experience at Old Saint Peter's is still remembered. A lot of little street gamins, very ragged and very dirty, were playing chequers. I was walking around, keeping order, and stopped at one place. "It's your move, Mister!" spoke one little boy. "My move? How?" "Oh, to move on, Mister, we're all right!"
I also edited and wrote for two little amateur papers, one "The Cripple News," in connection with the Home of Saint Michael and All Angels for Coloured Cripples, the other "The Southwark Reading Rooms." And I was often a teacher in several different Sunday Schools, in one of which, that of Saint Paul's, Chestnut Hill, I was also for several years superintendent. Then I gave informal lectures on Church History and Doctrine at Saint Paul's and Saint Martin's-in-the-Fields, Chestnut Hill, and at Saint Luke's, Germantown.
As a young man I was always full of activity and liked the out-of-door life. "Muscular Christianity" was once quite a topic and a practice! Perhaps my love of athletics, in following which I belonged to "The Philadelphia Fencing and Sparring Club," and at different times to the Bel-mont, Merion, Young America, Germantown and Philadelphia Cricket Clubs, trained me in discipline and endurance. Cricket was then a great game in Philadelphia. I believe that it is the best of all sports, "a gentleman's game," not in the sense of being limited to a class, but because of the "noblesse oblige" which obtains. Even the essentials of "playing straight" and "keeping one's wicket," may be made to apply to life in general. I loved "boxing," "sabre," "single stick," and rowing, but may modestly say I never distinguished myself in any, being most mediocre-but always enjoying the exercise and pleasure, and developing physical strength. The late Judge Martin and Mr. Charles S. W. Packard, the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Company, often were my opponents at sabre and single stick.
It was at the Fencing and Sparring Club that I learned Boxing from a former fighter, "Jim Murray." It is a fine sport and it is not a bad thing for a Priest to understand. I have the memory (amusing now!) of one time when I was a little "too cocky" as an amateur, and was "polished off" by a college classmate and went home with a much decorated face!
Horseback riding was then quite popular. I was taught by an old Austrian cavalryman. I still remember those anxious moments when mounted on a horse without any saddle or blanket I was supposed to trot and keep my seat. If I ever looked well on a horse, my appearance belied my ability! For if good horsemanship means to stick on, I fear that I sometimes sadly failed, for I have several painful memories of when, during a ride, my horse and I parted company! All of this had no connection with the "racing" or "horsey" set, a later development. Incidentally, I may say that my sister was a very good rider.
I early began to write. I wrote for pleasure or to help some cause I championed. I never claimed or claim any great merit or distinction, but it has always been my happy privilege, both when writing as a Layman and as a Priest, to have received most favourable notice from the Press generally, both here and in England. Their good opinions were probably undeserved, but it was pleasant to have them. I remember specially a two-column review in The Record of a book of short stories called "Balsam Boughs," and also a commendation of The Public Ledger referring to an historical novelette called "Joselyn Vernon" as a "model of purest English!" In 1895,1 sought the "Muse" and wrote a modest little book of Verse, entitled "On Wings of Fancy." I will quote two little newspaper clippings, one from The Philadelphia Press: "Many of them are vivacious, musical and truthful," and from The Public Ledger: "Archibald Campbell Knowles, a young Philadelphia writer of ambition comes forth in a volume of verse called 'On Wings of Fancy,' with no little evidence of grace and observation of life." I did not seek to be among the poets! I simply wished to dance a little bit to rhyme and rhythm.
My first religious books generally had a little preface by Bishop Nicholson, who from the first moment that I met him was always most encouraging of any effort on my part. In a book "The Belief and Worship of the Anglican Church," which went through four editions, Dr. Nicholson referred to me as "the large minded and large hearted author," which, for all I knew that it was undeserved, made me very happy and pleased me immensely. How we all love to be praised! And perhaps all the more when we know that we are not worthy! I do not understand why this little book took so well. As I look over it now as a Priest, I am amused at so many parts of it, and if I was writing it now, I would change it so much! Yet an edition was sold in England, three editions went here, and even now, long years after the little book has been out of print, inquiries still come.
The Reverend Arthur Ritchie, whom at that time I did not know, commented upon my literary ventures in the way that gratified me most, when he said that I "wrote with persuasive power." To write forcibly yet convincingly was always my aim. Saint Francis de Sales once said that one "catches more flies with sugar than with vinegar." I fancy that my little books were more read elsewhere than in Philadelphia. That is quite in accord with Scripture: "A prophet is not without honour save in his own country." I wrote these books as a Layman. I do not remember many of my friends who ventured into literary work. It might have sufficed if I had simply enjoyed such pursuits. It is pleasant to recall however, that apparently my little efforts were of help to many.
In another place I comment upon the great impression made upon me by reading of the very dreadful conditions which in England and America often obtained amongst the workers. We still have the slum and the sweatshop with us, but things were far worse when I was young.
Once, after reading a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "The Cry of the Children," and Thomas Hood's "Song of the Shirt," a friend of mine, Robert R. P. Bradford, and I did a little individual slum work in Philadelphia all on the quiet. We rented a large room for meetings in a tenement house in which for probably a dozen families there was only one water outlet on the second floor landing! Our experience ended in Robert Bradford consecrating his life at "The Lighthouse" to settlement work and helped to send me into the Ministry.
No reminiscences of mine would be complete without a reference to a lifelong friend, Sharswood Brinton, who died a few years ago. No two people could have been more unlike, yet our friendship, begun when boys, continued all of our life. For years he posed as an "agnostic." On visits to me, we would talk far into the night, fortified with liquid and other refreshments, when he would espouse the Roman Church against my Anglican convictions. Then he would see a Roman Catholic friend of his, to whose defense of the Papal Obedience he would oppose all of the arguments that I had used with him in support of the Anglican Communion! And then he used to chaff a third friend, a Presbyterian, whom he called "a psalm singer." All the while he was really feeling his way to the Catholic Faith, and finally, after a study of certain books which I gave him, he became thoroughly convinced, and in the most wholehearted way was confirmed at old Saint Peter's, under another old friend of mine, Edward Jefferys. The conversion of Sharswood to the Christian Religion and his acceptance of the Catholic Faith in its integrity, should be a reproof to those who oppose objections and doubt because they do not understand, for the teaching of Scripture and the Church is absolutely convincing to the greatest minds if they would seek to learn.
Sharswood had a very fine mind, he was deeply versed in the Law, was widely read and travelled, and had a great sense of humour. Some people thought that he was always making fun of them. He really never intended this, for he had the greatest consideration for people. He was always interested in all that I did, was the largest contributor to the Endowment Fund of Saint Alban's, sought counsel from me in all that pertained to the Church, and used to insist upon next to no compensation for legal services to me or to my parishioners.
There is a story about us, when young men on a vacation to Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, that I recall. We were in a boat some distance from shore when a very heavy sea arose. I had the oars and could hardly make progress. We were both a little rattled for we really were in danger. I said to Sharswood: "What in the world shall we do?" All screwed up in the stern, trying to steer, he yelled: "Stop your damn talking and row like hell!" Often in later life, when facing difficulties, I worked on Sharswood's advice, applying the principle set forth!
On another occasion Sharswood and I parted at Niagara Falls, after a vacation spent at Bar Harbor and in Canada. I came home, and arriving in Philadelphia, before going to my father's place in the country, I stopped at the railway restaurant. "What sort of sandwiches have you?" I asked. "Chicken sandwiches and ham sandwiches, sir," came the reply. "Give me a chicken," I ordered and then added, "Are both the same price?" "No, sir, chicken are fifteen cents and ham ten cents," "Make it ham," I had to say as I paid out the last of my money, a dime! This was the nearest I have ever come to being like Saint Francis! It was hardly "holy poverty," and as I hungrily ate the ham sandwich, I could hardly think of "Brother Pig," as it seemed a contradiction in terms.
We hear quite a little sometimes of that beautiful Christmas Hymn "Of Little Town of Bethlehem" the words by Phillips Brooks, the music by Lewis H. Redner. It was my happy privilege to have heard Phillips Brooks preach and to have known Mr. Redner, to have been at Holy Trinity in 1880 when the hymn was written, and with others to have sung it as Mr. Redner taught us the words and music.
Frequently during my life I have had charge of important financial matters and have had to seek legal advice on doubtful issues. With the most profound respect for members of the Bar, I have nevertheless sometimes found them most aggravating in the assumption that a thing "cannot be done," or in their evading a clear decision. Once the head of the Trust Department in a very prominent Trust Company persisted in his contention of the impossibility of effecting a certain change in an irrevocable Trust that I myself had founded. I knew that he was wrong, and on seeking advice of an intimate legal friend, was confirmed in my conviction and within forty-eight hours succeeded in having the change in effect. Common sense, not law, was the only thing needed in that case!
On another occasion, the head of a law firm, going away for a few days, placed certain matters of mine in the hands of his partner. He never directly could answer a question! On my friend's return, I got some wicked satisfaction in referring to his partner as "Mr. Necessity." "Why do you call him 'Mr. Necessity'?" I was asked. My answer was, "Because 'Necessity knows no law'!"
Many of our old friends in Philadelphia will recall how surprised they were when James Fry Bullitt, William Bernard Gilpin, William George Read and I took Holy Orders; the first three being priested in 1896 and I in 1899. All four knew each other well and had the same general background. Gilpin, Read and I had come under the influence of the Anglo-Catholic Revival but Bullitt, I think, was and is an Evangelical. To each of us had come the growing conviction of the joy and blessing in the true Religion, of the privilege of being amongst those who are striving to bring this life to others, and of the truth that only along religious and spiritual lines can souls find their full development. Far beyond vested interests, property rights, or special privilege, is the consideration of the souls of men. It is the Holy Catholic Church that alone holds the complete cure for past and present ills and evils.
Once when asked "why did you enter the Ministry?" I replied: "You see it was just like this: I had two unattainable and clashing ambitions, one to be the Holy Father, one to be a London Bobby! The nearest to a combination of both seemed to be the Sacred Priesthood!" I hope my answer satisfied!
One can safely say that no one of the four of us who entered the Sacred Ministry had any ambition for place or preferment in the Church. It was solely a desire to serve, to be the means, under God, of winning souls to His Glory.
Everyone is more or less many sided. One rarely knows a person in his entirety, so to speak. There are dreams, fancies, ideals, aspirations and the like, known only to a few intimates, often known to no one. An apparently very practical man may have his romantic and poetic side in which day dreams of the past and present add a glamour that makes less prosaic many a plain duty. Perhaps this is a more general experience than is often supposed, and a very matter of fact life may have its hidden compensation of sentiment and romance.
When quite young I absorbed the spirit of Sir Walter Scott's Waverly Novels and Lord Byron's "Childe Harold." They opened the way to romance and poetry and travel. And subsequent reading and experience have but deepened this feeling, which is back of my love of History, Art, Music, Architecture and Literature, in none of which I possess any qualification but appreciation. Nor can one fail to see the same attraction in Religion, where the Anglo-Catholic Revival shows the Church in all its glory and romance and casts a sort of halo over the historic past. So amidst the silence of a mountain summit, or at Vespers in the shadowed vistas of Notre Dame, or lazing in the sunshine of an Italian lake, or motoring through the dream cities of Europe, or at some Grand Opera where eye and ear drink in the scene and the music, has come to me many a day dream, when on the wings of fancy, romance again lives and the prosaic for the moment is forgotten. I think that a life without sentiment, without the proper appreciation of the beautiful and the romantic, is sadly lacking in some of the greatest contributions to joy and happiness.
A very pleasant memory, and in a way interesting to others, is that of those most delightful operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. I remember hearing them as they were first brought out in this country and later many times listening to the real D'Oyly Carte Company in London. Nothing can excel the art and music of these operas, or the delicious drollery and humour which won them such a following. In my day, the melodies and witticisms were generally known, and the rival charms of "Pinafore," "Patience," "Iolanthe," "The Mikado," "The Yeoman of the Guard," "The Pirates," "The Gondoliers," and others were everywhere discussed. For years and even now, conversation contained many clever bits quoted from them.
It is a rare memory to look back and to recall that these delightful operas were contemporaneous with one's own life. Chesterton well says that the greatest enduring monument to the achievements of the Victorian age is "all that remains of the Savoy Opera." It is said that the Gilbert and Sullivan Operas did much to break down the unreasoning opposition to the stage which then obtained to some extent. After all these years, it is astonishing often to hear in conversation phrases from these operas. Just to quote a few haphazard: "A thing of shreds and patches," "I have a song to sing Ol," "The flowers that bloom in the spring tra la, have nothing to do with the case." "O, but I'm doleful," "prithee pretty maiden," "to make the punishment fit the crime,"--one could go on indefinitely!