Vicar-Designate of S. Agatha's, Landport (1885-1895)--Appointment to the charge of the Winchester College Mission (1885)--Interviews with the Bishop of Winchester and with the Headmaster of Winchester College--Condition of the district, and of Portsmouth generally--Origin and past history of S. Agatha's Mission--Father Dolling's preliminary operations--The man and the environment suited to each other.
'Oh, it is great, and there is no other greatness, to make some nook of God's creation a little fruitfuller, better, more worthy of God; to make some human hearts a little wiser, manfuller, happier--more blessed, less accursed.'--CARLYLE: Past and Present.
AFTER Dolling had resigned the charge of the Maidman Street Mission, he took a rest in a characteristic way: he went to stay at the sea-side house at S. Leonard's used by the Postmen's League. The present writer well remembers, when serving as curate of S. Michael's, Woolwich, in the summer of 1885, receiving a letter from Brother Bob asking him to spend a day with himself and with some of the postmen at the S. Leonard's house, and adding that there was a special reason for the invitation.
This reason was, that as he had been offered and accepted the charge of Winchester College Mission (S. Agatha's, Landport, Portsmouth), he wished to form his staff of assistant workers as soon as possible, and to ask the present writer to join him as assistant curate of the mission. After some consideration the offer was accepted, with the result that in January, 1886, the writer of this book entered upon duties at S. Agatha's, Landport, which he attempted to fulfil during seven years, until 1893, when his direct connection with the Winchester College Mission ceased, owing to his being offered and accepting a Crown living in the colliery districts of Northumberland.
Father Dolling has left, in the sketch of his Landport work (now out of print), entitled 'Ten Years in a Portsmouth Slum,' a graphic description of his interviews with the various persons from whom, in different senses, he received the charge of the Mission. The first was with Dr. Fearon, the then Headmaster of Winchester College. We intend to give evidence of Dolling's relations with Winchester in a subsequent chapter. What we desire to direct attention to here is the strong bond of mutual affection and respect which, from the first, existed between the mission priest of S. Agatha's on the one hand, and the masters and boys of Winchester on the other. Dolling's initial interview with the Headmaster, and his introduction to the school authorities by Dr. Linklater (the former missioner of S. Agatha's), had left on his mind, as he tells us, an abiding impression of the 'simplicity, unity, and solidity' of the ethos and general system of the school. This first visit was the beginning of a friendship between himself and Dr. Fearon which, followed by similar relations with other of the masters, made his connection with Winchester unique, in regard to its personal character, among all the public-school missions of our time.
The first interview with the Headmaster was but a happy augury of Dolling's immense popularity with the boys. If Dr. Linklater had, as one of the dons said, 'taken all their hearts by storm,' the hold gained was certainly not lost by his successor, who writes in his 'Ten Years 'of those first cheers which greeted him at Winchester as continually ringing in his ears as 'incentive in the hour of sloth, as rest in the hour of weariness ever since.' Owing to the genuine and extraordinary affection which existed between Dolling and the Winchester 'men,' they became a distinct group among his 'children,' in addition to the postmen of his earlier days and to the soldiers, sailors, and artisans of Portsmouth.
S. Agatha's Mission, though, in reality, very largely practically autonomous, within wide limits, as to its methods, yet was in some sense under at least three superior authorities, in different degrees and for different spheres of its action. The first and most important of these, extra to the mission priest himself, was, of course, the Bishop of the Diocese (Winchester) in which Portsmouth is situated. The second (though ever since the district was separated this was practi-ally the expression of an almost nominal connection) was the vicar of the great mother parish of All Saints, with its 23,000 inhabitants (or 18,000 exclusive of S. Agatha's). The third was the mission committee, representing Winchester College. The consent of the last-named was requisite in regard to the more secular arrangements of the work, such as building, etc., so long as appeals for its support went forth to the public from the chief missioner, with the support of the name and sanction of the college. This did not, however, involve any right of interference by the committee with the mode of conducting Divine worship, and in practice, even in more secular matters, the members of that body were content to follow Dolling's advice, and to be guided by what they recognised as his superior experience in regard to the necessary expenditure required, and to the nature of the buildings to be erected for the purposes of the Landport campaign. At least, if there was any criticism among the committee antagonistic to his plans, it found no expression in the printed reports of the recommendations of that body in regard to the mission.
It was to Farnham Castle that the new missioner next made his way (after his first interview with Dr. Fearon), in order to hear from the then Bishop of Winchester, Dr. Harold Browne, his advice as to S. Agatha's and the line of conduct expected from the priest who was to undertake the charge of the Land-port Mission. It is remarkable that a region so essentially modern, inartistic, and democratic as S. Agatha's district should be connected by ties of ecclesiastical allegiance with two places so fragrant of the charm and poetry of the past as Winchester and Farnham. Dolling found Bishop Harold Browne to be 'as simple, solid, and balanced' in character as were the Winchester dons, but he also thought him a little nervous in manner, as having, he writes, 'heard strange stories about me!' The good Bishop was destined to hear yet stranger as time went on!
Dolling was struck from the first by the deep and unpretending piety of the Bishop, and by the profound sense of responsibility which the latter had in regard to the duties of his high office. For Portsmouth especially the Bishop had a deep desire to secure a better degree of spiritual life and of moral well-being than had previously prevailed. The town in question was the chief centre of population in his diocese, and, on account of varying circumstances, presented a unique series of problems for solution to the religious teacher and the social reformer. From its connection with the Royal Navy, its relationship to the life of the Empire is of an unrivalled description, and the fact that so many of its ad nit male population are, in one sense or another, servants of the State, and not under private employment, seemed to direct special attention to its crying needs on the part of the National Church. Bishop Browne, though only occasionally visiting the town, or combination of towns to which the name of Portsmouth is applied, was yet in full possession of the facts as to the urgent necessity for missionary work among its population. He must have known much of this from at least three persons, his own friends, and officially or informally connected in various ways with the life of the Winchester Diocese. These persons were Canon Jacob (now Bishop of St. Albans), who, as its vicar, had, with the aid of the largest staff of curates in England, thoroughly reorganised and revived the church life of the vast parish of S. Mary's, Kingston, Portsea, building also a great church by the help of a generous layman and statesman, the late Mr. W. H. Smith; Mother Emma, the head of the S. Andrew's Deaconesses, a large Community of self-sacrificing Christian women to whom Portsmouth owes much; and Mr. John Pares, who was, with the late Admiral Hornby, the layman chiefly concerned in the work of the Commission which, shortly before Dolling came to S. Agatha's, had brought to light the serious facts as to the inadequacy of the then existing Church (clergy, buildings, or organisations) to grapple with the spiritual and moral destitution of the place.
The Bishop, therefore, was awake to the need of missionary work in the district in charge of which Dolling, who had practically accepted the offer of Winchester College, now was about to enter. Dr. Harold Browne was, however, a thorough representative of the old-fashioned Anglican Via Media, alike in!* his dislike of anything approaching to fanaticism or eccentricity, in his extreme caution, and, we should add, in his real and unostentatious piety. He must have sanctioned Dolling's nomination by Winchester not without a certain amount of inward trepidation. Dolling's closing remembrances of the interview at Farnham were of the Bishop's kindly hope that the missioner 'would not do anything foolish," and of his own having to pawn his watch in order to secure a bed in an inn, as he could not get back to London on the same night.
The third person, after the Headmaster and the Bishop, with whom he had personal dealings in regard to his appointment was the ex-missioner, Dr. Linklater, whose resignation of S. Agatha's was caused by his appointment by Mr. Gladstone, the then Premier, to the important London parish of Holy Trinity, Stroud Green. Dr. Linklater was, like Father Dolling, an Irishman, and, like him, also, overflowing with buoyancy and humour. When Dolling arrived on his first visit to S. Agatha's at the Portsmouth railway platform, Link-later hurried him into the next train to Rowland's Castle, and, amid the oasis of rest afforded by the country round that charming spot, the ex-missioner drew before the mental view of his successor a plan of campaign, to part of which Dolling adhered, but other parts of which he altered as the life of S. Agatha's developed. He never changed the arrangements which had been made before his time merely for change's sake, but only when they seemed to him to be unsuitable or impossible in regard to his own method of operations. He could not fight with armour and weapons which, however well they might have been suited to the use of others, yet were unwieldy for him. He had to play the game in his own way or not at all. With all his socialism, he had a strong vein of sturdy and invincible individuality at the basis of his character.
On the return of the two priests to Portsmouth, after their few hours' trip to its country surroundings, the ex-missioner introduced the new one to the church-workers in old S. Agatha's Church, which at that time was used for purposes not only of worship, but also of social intercourse, owing to the lack of other accommodation at the disposal of the mission. Friendliness and geniality characterised the introduction of the new priest to his flock by its former pastor. The fact that both were Irishmen gave a peculiar flavour of unconventionality and good-fellowship to the ecclesiastical life of S. Agatha's which made that mission probably the least prim and the most human of any parochial district in the Anglican Communion. But, indeed, the circumstances of Portsmouth from 1882-1895 inclusive (i.e., from the starting of S. Agatha's Mission until the opening of the great basilican church), were such as to demand methods characterised by heart, zest, and passion, if the enterprise which Linklater came to start was to be in any sense 'a going concern.'
It was on the Advent Sunday of 1882 that the mission was started by Dr. Linklater by an evening service in the Bell School, Clarence Street, at which only about two or three persons were present. Linklater had previously been joined in the work by Rev. E. W. Sergeant, formerly a Winchester House Master, and one who gave to the mission the help of a wise and well-stored mind. While Linklater practically hypnotised the wild youth, the Ishmaels of the Landport streets, and rushed them into civilising clubs, where they tried to the full his Celtic temperament, even while they loved him, as they could not help doing, Sergeant arranged the liturgical dignity of the services of the mission, as the capacity for worship developed, and he formed a class for the intelligent study of the great questions of religion from among the more thoughtful of the working men and clerks of Portsmouth. Linklater's second clerical helper was the Rev. Gordon Wickham, now Vicar of Bradford Abbas, Dorset, whose chief work lay with the younger people, especially in the Sunday-schools. His staying on for some time as assistant to Dolling, as well as Sergeant's constant visits to the mission (after the latter had ceased to be one of its clergy), alike served to link the newer developments at S. Agatha's with its earlier period. The abandonment, however, by Dolling of Linklater's favourite project of the High Schools outside the district, on the Commercial Road, threatened to cause a certain lapse of sympathy between the chief missioners of the old and of the new regime. Dolling did not consider that the High Schools were sufficiently parochial in their scope to justify him in continuing them when many necessary parish objects clamoured for support.
The Mission Church, so dear to many now scattered all over the world as 'old S. Agatha's,' was opened by Bishop MacDougall, Canon of Winchester, on July 24, 1884, the foundation stone having been laid by Dr. Fearon on Easter Tuesday, April 5, of the same year. On September 29, 1885, the Feast of Michael, the warrior archangel, Father Dolling entered, as its duly commissioned leader, on the spiritual warfare which the Landport Mission had been waging and was still further to wage against the darkness and devilry which are always present where uncared-for people are huddled together as 'sheep having no shepherd.'
Before the building of the Mission Church the services had been held in schoolrooms outside S. Agatha's district. The afternoon children's service was for a time allowed to be held in Holy Trinity Church, Portsea, whose aged vicar, Rev. T. D. Platt, has lately been called to his rest. The conduct of a number of the big boys was, however, says Dr. Linklater, only to be described as 'diabolical.' It was so bad that the vicar of the church in question withdrew from the chancel, saying to Linklater, 'I leave my church to you and to your savage crew.' Even after old S. Agatha's was built the conduct of the same type of boys was still lacking in repose and recollection:
'Two boys,' wrote Father Dolling in his 'Ten Years,' 'calmly lighted their pipes and began to smoke. One remedy alone seemed possible--to seize them by the back of the neck and run them out of church, knocking their heads together as hard as I could. Amazed at first into silence, their tongues recovered themselves before they reached the door, and the rest of the children listened, delighted, to vocabulary which I have seldom heard excelled. We had no sooner restored order than the mothers of the two lads put in an appearance. As wine is to water, so was the conversation of the mothers to their sons. I wish I could have closed the children's ears as quickly as I closed the service. But they listened with extreme delight, even following me in a kind of procession, headed by the two ladies, to my lodgings. The contrast between this, my first procession, and the last, which took place when my church was opened, is a true measure of the difference which ten years have made.'
In considering the condition of things, of which the above incident is an indication, it is necessary to understand the peculiar situation and circumstances of S. Agatha's district, especially of its main artery, Charlotte Street. These were caused by the fact that the parish lies between the older part of Portsmouth, the region surrounded by the moats, on the one hand, and the vast industrial districts of Kingston on the other, while the Commercial Road, which bounds S. Agatha's in one direction, forms the main channel of traffic for the entire town. The quaint, old-world aspect of some bits of Portsmouth proper, close by the harbour and the docks, has still managed to preserve itself amid all the changes of recent years. Portsmouth Parish Church (dedicated to S. Thomas of Canterbury, and architecturally of two periods, medieval and post-Eeformation)--the church in which Charles I.'s favourite, Buckingham, is buried--has still something about its aspect that recalls the period when Felton stabbed the Duke before the ill-starred expedition to the Isle of Bhe. The older houses of the wealthier type are such as might form the background for 'In Celia's Arbour,' Besant's novel of Portsmouth life. The curious shanties by the harbour, with the 'ancient and fish-like smell' which pervades their environs, are such abodes as Quilp, the dwarf of Dickens' 'Old Curiosity Shop,' would have found to his liking. Dickens himself was born in the town, and the old-fashioned portions that are left are such as his imagination would have peopled with suitable denizens. Captain Cuttle seems to need old Portsmouth as a background. The spirit of Dickens, or of B. L. Stevenson, would have found the place vastly in keeping with many of their most creative moods.
This old town has, however, long since overflowed its boundaries, the moats, and it has done so in two different directions. Towards Kingston it has developed into a vast community of artisans and mechanics, mainly in State employment in the Royal Dockyard. In another direction it has become Southsea, a watering-place the permanent inhabitants of which, besides lodging-house keepers, are naval and military people, but the population of which is increased in the summer months by an immense concourse of visitors. The splendid performances of the military bands at the piers night after night, the constant facilities for yachting in the Solent and for rowing about the harbour, the ever interesting battleships, whether the ironclads or the old 'wooden walls' of the Victory or the St. Vincent, carrying back men's thoughts to the struggle with Napoleon for the supremacy of the sea, all combine to make Southsea of more interest than is the ordinary sea-side resort. The glimpses of the ancient castle of Portchester seen amid the trees as one rows inland (its water-gate said to have been constructed by the Romans) give a touch of the poetry of the past to a scene otherwise too exclusively dominated by the great ships of war with which the harbour is filled.
The district of S. Agatha's, Landport, however, has neither the antique flavour of Portsmouth proper, the industrial comfort of large parts of Kingston, nor the Brightonlike aspect of the gay Southsea 'front.' It was when Linklater, and after him Dolling, lived and worked in its midst, a huddled mass of miserably small and overcrowded dwellings, a sort of municipal Cinderella, sitting in rags amid its better-cared-for sisters of the borough. Its slaughter-houses were scented from afar, especially those contiguous to S. Agatha's Parsonage. It had no less than fifty-one 'publics'--an enormous proportion to the population (5,000) of the district--most of them with 'sing-song' rooms of a low type. The many houses of ill fame, those nests of nameless evil which were so foul a feature of certain of the streets of the district in Dolling's time, and most of which he succeeded in uprooting; the utter want of restraint or discipline of any kind in the entire life of the place; the unmeasured use of language displaying often an ingenuity of inventiveness in its profanity--all served to present peculiar temptations to the thoughtless and the young.
It is true that several of the streets in S. Agatha's district were thoroughly decent in regard to the conduct of their inhabitants. It is also true that no doubt a great improvement has since taken place in the character of the neighbourhood, alike physical, social, and moral, largely due to Dolling's untiring exertions as a citizen and to the quickened sense of municipal responsibility for its disgraceful condition--a condition which its vicar-designate, amid storms of obloquy from all the 'comfortable moles 'and vested interests of Portsmouth, persisted in courageously dragging to the light of day.
The evil, however, of the district was not of that sodden and sordid type which is so absolutely hopeless. It was a life full of excitement and laughter which poured itself daily along the Landport streets and paraded nightly up and down the Commercial Road. The free and easy gait of the men-of-war's men, those splendid fellows who, with the courage of lions and the hearts of children, are yet so often and so easily led into any sinful indulgence that has about it the fierceness of excitement, after the restraint of the life at sea; the manly stride of the red Marines (E.M.L.I.), or. of their brothers in blue, the Royal Marine Artillery, those first-rate specimens of well-set-up soldiers; the great facilities for all kinds of horseplay and street-romping (the latter much indulged in by mixed parties of both sexes); the larks and practical jokes played in the streets which save the public life from dulness; above all, the joys of Saturday night, the cheap-jack sales, the waxwork shows, the exhibition of freaks or fat women at one penny entrance fee, the flare of the improvised lamps by the light of which fried fish or hokey-pokey is dispensed, the swing-boats which used to hoist their scream-f ing cargoes at the waste space which was then beside the Edinburgh Road--all made up a scene in which the curious observer might find unfailing food for interesting contemplation of all sorts and conditions of men and women, so far, at least, as the masses are concerned. Later on the public-houses poured forth their patrons; the voice of intoxicated expostulation proceeds from husband to wife, or wife to husband; not seldom a free fight prolongs the noises of the night. Meanwhile the tramp of the picket is heard, warning back to ship or barracks the erring brother who has no justification for his absence. Certainly the Landport 'Saturday Night' was of a different type to that celebrated by Burns.
So late was the noise protracted that often scarcely had the sound of skirmishing in the streets subsided into silence than the bell calling the faithful to the earliest Celebration on Sunday at S. Agatha's began its shrill reminder. When, as on great festivals, the first Eucharist was at 5 a.m., the persons who had just risen from bed for purposes of devotion met the last remnants of the strayed revellers of the streets staggering on their homeward way. The life of that part of Landport, whatever its faults, could certainly never be accused of smug respectability or of decorous dulness. It was not' the ghastly smooth life, dead at heart,' of which Browning writes. It sinned, but openly, riotously, and with a sort of flaunting jest and good-humour.
In the words of Father Dolling in his 'Report' issued September, 1886, after his first year's initial effort:
'The first thing you would notice in our streets is the number of soldiers and sailors, the second the number of boys and girls wandering about all the evening. These two circumstances are our difficulty. Soldiers and sailors are the best fellows in the world, but they are a source of infinite danger to our boys and girls--indeed, to our older people; their talk, their example, their very good-nature, their homelessness, is a constant temptation to others. This leasant example leads our boys and girls to seek their pleasure in the streets; parents lose all control, many marry over-young; the husband marches away or goes to sea; if the former, his wife often gets nothing; if the latter, 30s. or £2 paid at the end of the month. Trying her very best, what can she do?
'The whole district is leavened with a low moral tone; in fact, sin is no shame. Many of our people are hangers-on at the dockyard, men who go out of work when there is the smallest reduction of hands; with very few exceptions, we are all poor. Till three years ago the Church of England did absolutely nothing. The mother parish was too large, the Nonconformists occupied the ground in two or three different centres, so nearly all our religious and respectable people are Dissenters; but even some of the Dissenters lost heart, and, as in the case of the Baptists, migrated to more favoured places. But practically many of our people have grasped a certain spasmodic religion, very dangerous, a religion that insists as the one dogma of faith on the forgiveness of God continually being exercised, without any respect as to repentance and amendment, which confesses continually "I am a sinner," but refuses to say "I have sinned," and so virtually any actual system of true morals and belief has passed away, and with them all idea of obedience and discipline.
'I have dealt at great length in this statement, I fear, for I want you to understand the position, moral and religious, of many of our 7,000 people.
One chief secret of Dolling's success as priest of S. Agatha's lay in the extraordinary way in which the environment suited the man and the man the environment. Cardinal Manning is reported to have said of his house, when certain defects were pointed out in it, 'It fits me like an old shoe.' Father Dolling might have said the same of his parsonage and of the Landport streets. Here at least was no case of 'the round man in the square hole,' and of the squandering, humanly speaking, of gifts of heart and intelligence by the placing of their possessors in the places where their distinctive faculties are of least avail. In the case of Father Dolling as priest of S. Agatha's, Landport, for once the organism struck root in an environment which suited it. Landport was made for such a man as Dolling to wrestle with, to overcome, and to lift its people a little nearer to God and to one another, and certainly Dolling was made for Landport. His heartiness; his bonhomie; his capacity for being supremely happy, smoking with a crowd of soldiers as he chummed up with them in a barrack-room; his power of conceiving and carrying through large plans for dealing with masses of the hungry, the ignorant, or the vicious, for civilising, teaching, Christianising them according to their needs; his realisation of Christ as the Workman of Nazareth and the fraternal Comrade of the people; his dislike of effeminacy and sentimental whining; his clearing his mind from cant; the fact that, while tender and in a true sense childlike in heart, he was essentially a 'men's man,' sturdy, stubborn, and devoid of fear--all these gifts and qualities pointed Robert Dolling out as the one of all others whom God meant and prepared to be the priest of such a place as Landport, and, 'at the end of the day,' as a 'faithful shepherd to come,' bringing his 'sheep in his hand.'
Here was no case of what the Rev. C. L. Marson, that caustic critic of the Church of England, thus describes in the Commonwealth for December, 1901, in reference to the haphazard system, or want of system, in regard to clerical appointments in 'the National Establishment':
'In time,' he says to an imaginary candidate for Orders, 'you will get a living, a huge house with august stables, if the income is small. If your tastes are urban, it will be in the country, and vice versa. You will be pitchforked into any place which may chance to fall vacant. Have you a gift for coaxing spinsters, you will be sent to a University town. If you are powerful with colliers, you will be called to the Isle of Wight. If cabbages are your delight, you will be pent in Peckham.'
Far different to this was the case of S. Agatha's and its vicar-designate. Amid the streets of Landport Father Dolling was no deplorable misfit. Excitement did not weary him, it stimulated his efforts; and Portsmouth, whatever its faults, is not dull.
The dashes of colour afforded by the uniforms of the soldiers and sailors who fill the streets; the constant music of the bands as the troops swing past from route-marching; the summer concourse of all sorts of odd people to the sea-front (just like the individuals who fill up so many of John Leech's drawings in the best days of Punch); the briny atmosphere, as it were, that pervades the whole place--suited him thoroughly. Dolling would have died of ennui amid suburban villas. Landport, even when he employed his most lurid colours in the painting of it, was far more congenial to his mind as a place to live in than any region of prim decorum could ever have been.
Its very vices afforded a perpetual challenge to his indomitable combativeness. They gave his boundless energies the employment of grappling with them. He was no Laodicean trifler with the great facts of life. He loved to view the pageant of existence, or, rather, to take an active part in it. He preferred making history to studying its pages by the aid of midnight oil. City or town life was of inexhaustible interest to his eager, kindly, and, in a good sense, inquisitive mind, whether as displaying itself at some Continental festa, or amid the Saturday-night throng of Portsmouth Commercial Road. His tastes were rather those of Dr. Samuel Johnson, with whose sturdiness of character and manly piety he had much in common, or of the human-hearted Charles Lamb, that lover of theatres, than those of George Herbert, the country priest of Bemerton, or of Wordsworth, the hermit poet of the lakes.
'The spirit that is among the lonely hills 'could not long satisfy a mind that was continually saying with Miranda in The Tempest, 'O brave new world, how beauteous mankind is!' When on visits to his relatives at Braemar, he soon tired of Lochnagar and Ben Macdhui, and craved for return from their silent grandeur to the turmoil of his beloved S. Agatha's. With Dr. Johnson he could truly say that, in his opinion, there was 'no prospect finer than a walk down Fleet Street.'
The badinage of the men's club, or the rough yet tenderhearted fellowship of the dear lads--soldiers, sailors, working men, or nondescripts--who gathered round him night by night at his big table in the games compartment of the gymnasium, all this was more to Robert Dolling than the most entrancing scenery with man left out of the picture. He had all the delight of Walt Whitman, the apostle of 'the love of comrades,' in human nature and human beings as such, combined with a deep sense of man's more spiritual needs, which seems not so evident amid the rugged and powerful productions of the American poet.
Dolling, however, with all his large heart, was no mere evangelist of good-nature. He was prepared for disappointment and ingratitude, and he often met with them in ways that cut him to the quick. Yet still to the day he left Portsmouth the very magnitude of its problems and the unregulated energy of its life seemed to call forth in him a corresponding buoyancy of hope. He lived, however, in no fools' paradise. He was practical to the finger-tips. Below are some words from his initial address to the people of S. Agatha's on his entry into office as the head of the mission. They are emphatically the words of a priest who knows his business, and yet who is also no mere clever clergyman, 'good at organising 'and working his church and parish as a statistic-producing ecclesiastical machine. They are the words of a firm and kindly elder brother rather than of 'the resident gentleman in every parish,' the thought of whose presence multiplied over the land brings such consolation to the mind of the writers of the leading articles in the Times.
'My dear friends,' Father Dolling says, 'I, on my part, will try my very best to carry on whatever Mr. Linklater has begun. I think we shall soon get to know and trust each other, and that is, above all things, what I aim at. Some way I feel already as if I was friends with many of you, for I get so many pleasant nods as I pass through the streets, and surely acquaintance must ripen into friendship, and friendship into trust, and if we once get to trust each other the future is secure; but even before you get to know me, I think I have a right to claim one thing from you--I mean your prayers that God may give me grace to be a true minister among you all, your own servant, having the will, even if I lack the power, of serving you in all things. Let me feel that I shall have a strong body ready and willing to help me, and that you will have the old familiar faces who have helped to make the mission dear to you. Let us all, then, pray that each one of us, laying aside all selfish thoughts, may labour, in our different places, to perfect the work that God has called us to--the bringing of every man, woman, and child in the district to the knowledge of the love of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
'Your faithful servant,
'R. R. DOLLING.'
Such was the evangelical motive so deeply underlying the entire range of his social activities.