Last writings in S. Saviour's Magazine and in Goodwill--Last Lent preaching (1902)--Last address in S. Saviour's (Easter Day, March 30, 1902)--Leaves parish for Philbecoh Gardens--Sermons at Berkeley Chapel, Mayfair--Illness--Death (May 15, 1902)--Requiem services at S. Cuthbert's, South Kensington (May 20), and at S. Saviour's (May 21)--Burial at S. Alban's, Holborn, Ground, Woking Cemetery (May 21, 1902)--Last words by Bishops of London and Stepney.
TOWARDS the end of Father Dolling's life he wrote several short articles of considerable interest, other than those connected with the troubles in the Church. The death of the Queen was not only, as we have already noticed, made the occasion by him of paying to her memory a genuine and heartfelt tribute, but also of explaining the value and importance of the Requiem services, and especially of the Requiem Eucharist, for the departed monarch, which were held in S. Saviour's, as in many other churches, at that time. We may note that he believed that the craving for 'memorial services for the departed'--as, for instance, in connection both with the losses in the war and with the death of the Queen--must lead in time to a recognition of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the great 'memorial service' of the Lord's death, as the proper and appropriate means of satisfying this natural and pathetic instinct. We may remark also that the beautiful prayer offered in the Jewish synagogues for the soul of the departed Queen is sufficient evidence that such a devotional usage is not exclusively Roman, not even exclusively Christian. It is as follows:
'We beseech Thee, 0 Lord, recompense her work, and may a full reward be given her of Thee, under whose wings she has come to trust. May her soul be bound in the bond of life everlasting with the soul of the husband of her youth, and with the souls of her beloved kinsfolk, who have gone to their eternal rest.'
In regard to political and social questions and to matters of public life, we have already mentioned Dolling's keen interest in the South African War. On this question he was somewhat divided, as we have hinted, from several of his former Radical friends, as, though no mere Jingo, he was not a pro-Boer. Those subjects of English statesmanship, on which he had been so thoroughly a Gladstonian--i.e., government of Ireland by Irish ideas, and anti-Turkish policy in regard to the Eastern Question--were points on which he still felt strongly; for he always regarded England's past treatment of Ireland and her alliance with the murderous despotism of Turkey, including the gigantic blunder of the Crimean War, as the two greatest blots upon her fame as a just and Christian power. One of his greatest addresses at S. Agatha's was on the Armenian question, as showing the practical non-Christianity and immoral character of European public policy in regard to the toleration of the devilry existing under Turkish misrule. But in regard to many questions he became quite disengaged from the Liberal Party, though still in a larger sense a Liberal to the end. The last article which appeared over his name, being printed shortly after his death in Goodwill (his friend Father Adderley's excellent little monthly magazine) was sent by him to that paper some time before his illness. It is called, 'How the Good in Every Man is to be reached.' He says in this:
'The old religions had little place in them for the love of God, and our religion has, I fear, little place in it for the justice of God, and so, unfortunately, as our aspect of God rules our conduct towards men, our duty towards our neighbour has become rather a matter of what is called charity than of justice. . . .
'God knows the number of His own children, and He has created sufficient for all: health and time and money, and all that money produces--refinement, education.
'Now, since God has committed these to the members of the family, He wills that any member having excess should see that no member suffers loss because of that excess, for no one can be said to deal justly with his God until he has dealt justly with his fellow-men. Christ, indeed, was no divider of men's goods in individual cases--that would have created Him a tyrant--but He laid down the principles by which we learn how to deal justly.
'Can anyone for one moment say that, however much in theory the Church of God teaches this now, the practical result witnesses to the success of her teaching? God teaches me that all men are made in His image, and yet I live amongst thousands of people who are altogether unconscious of any true ideal of God, far less that they themselves are created divine. As long as they get enough to eat and drink, and a little amusement, oftentimes another word for sin, always for vulgarity, they have fulfilled all the destiny they ever dream of.
'I would not have you for one moment think they are bad people--very far from it; oftentimes their charity is heroic, their endurance magnificent. It needs but the ideal to be presented to them, and their souls quickened to respond to it, to create them heroes and saints. Are they to blame? Certainly not. They have never been dealt justly with. Think of the houses that they are born in, the overcrowding, the drains, the damp. Think of the state of the health of their mothers. Why, the expense of one nursery in Bel-grave Square would enable forty poor children to attain their natural bodily development. If this be true of the body, how much more true of the intellect! No doubt a great deal is spent in elementary education, but the fierce competition of life compels parents to take away their children from school before they have learnt what education means. Many boys leave school at thirteen, and work as errand-boys fourteen hours a day. Of course it is against the law, but so are the unhealthy and overcrowded houses; but the law that safeguards the poor is always in the hands of those who do not (unless compelled by strong public opinion) put it into force. But you say they have their own soul development in their own hands; religion in England is offered to everyone; that, at any rate, the rich man does not keep to himself. But practically he does.
'When shall we realise the awful words, "Ye have taken away the key of knowledge; ye enter not in yourselves, and they that were entering in ye hindered"? For if those who have this world's goods really entered into the spirit of Christ, that spirit would make them utterly dissatisfied until every gift of God they had in excess, whether for the development of body, soul, or spirit, was expended on those who have not, those who are allowed by God to have it not, that those who have it should supply what is lacking. If these words seem to you too severe, it is just because I know the good that lies hidden away in all these unrefined, non-religious souls. For the last twenty years I have been living amongst them. I know how easily all this wrong could be set right. No almsgiving, no patronage will ever do it. "I give it to you because it is your right to get it. I give you temporal surroundings, in which your body may develop, intellectual surroundings, in which your mind may grow; above all, I give you love and sympathy, that your heart may grow too. I do it as an act of pure justice, because far too many of these things have been wasted on me. Alas! I have wasted them upon myself. I confess to you that I have seen my brother had need, that I have shut up the bowels of my compassion. I realise that there was no love of God in me." Believe me, such a method will never fail. I know the hearts of these people--men lost to all sense of right, with nothing before them but sin, gaol, despair, women who have ceased to be women. There are thousands of them in England. Charity only makes them meaner and baser, and they will chuckle as they deceive you. They know as well as you do that this charity is in a large measure a kind of insurance against evil in this world, against evil in the world to come. But go to them having faith in them, as a man has in a man, and time will show you. If this be true of the utterly depraved, how much more true will it be of those who in the darkness are striving after light! Go to them in a spirit of justice and of love, and you will be to them as Christ was to humanity, the revelation of a God they desired to see.'
Father Dolling had promised to write an article for The Oxford Point of Vieiv on 'The Work of Varsity Men in the East End,' but his illness came before it could be done. This was also the case with an article promised to The Treasury on 'A Working Parson's Day.' In regard to the former of these, the editor of the Oxford paper in question tells us that Father Dolling was about to dictate the article, but at the time arranged he felt too ill to do so. Our informant continues:
'I walked about with him in the square that day--one of those days in spring when the sun is just beginning to make itself felt. Together we watched the children playing, while we talked of Oxford, and planned a visit for him when he was better. That day he was quite cheerful, and chaffed the children in his own delightful manner.'
In reference to this closing period of his life, a lady, who was one of his many friends, writes:
'The last time Father Dolling came to see us he laughed and told my daughter, who had been an invalid for years, that she was a fraud, and that he believed she would live longer than he would. We little thought then that his words would prove true.'
During the last Lent of his life and ministry (1902) Father Dolling had an immense number of preaching engagements, from all of which offertories were to come for the work at S. Saviour's. But his health was giving signs of an impending breakdown, and in his own church he used to feel so tired that his usual mode of preaching was from a chair, and that he would hardly ever give an address standing. It did not appear as if the treatment at Aix-la-Chapelle had really reached the root of the evil. One sign of ill-health which was singularly touching, and showed how weak he felt, was that all that Lent he was not seen at the daily Celebration. All through his life, whenever possible, this had been his strength and joy. Every morning at Landport, in all weathers, he was to be seen making his way through Charlotte Street to S. Agatha's for the daily Eucharist. To those who knew what he felt about the Sacrament of the Altar as the 'daily Bread' and the 'daily Pleading' this seemed afterwards as a sign that God was giving him 'meat to eat that man knew not of,' and that he was drawing near to that state within the veil where the sacramental media are no longer needed in the more immediate access to the Presence.
An accident accelerated his physical collapse. After one of his Lent sermons at Tonbridge, when he was getting into the station, a drunken man fell against him. and caused such an injury to one of his feet that he was in serious pain for days after, though concealing the full extent of this at first in order to fulfil his immense list of Lent engagements, on which so much depended for money for his work. He writes hopefully in his magazine: 'On Easter Monday I am going to put myself in the doctor's hands, and he is going to put me perfectly right.' In reality he passed a Lent of great pain and discomfort, but bravely battling on in hope of Easter rest. That Easter rest came in a different and grander sense than he expected.
His last Sunday at S. Saviour's was Easter Day, March 30, 1902, a year since he had gone to Spain in search of health. The afternoon Children's Vespers was a special service, since, in addition to the Easter festival, it was the farewell to Mr. A. E. Cornibeer, to whom the success of the Sunday-school was largely due, and who was going to be ordained in order to serve at the Sacred Trinity Church, Salford; and it was also the last Sunday at S. Saviour's of one of the assistant clergy, Rev. J. Lloyd, who had accepted the living of Sutton-on-Derwent, in Yorkshire. Father Dolling's address to the children at this service was his last public act of teaching or preaching in S. Saviour's, as he was too weak to appear at the Easter Sunday Evensong. He loved the S. Saviour's children and all children so deeply that it is a touching and beautiful circumstance that his last act of public ministry in his own church was one in which he was surrounded by crowds of the little ones. No priest ever more faithfully fulfilled his Master's precept, 'Feed My lambs.'
To a friend who sat with him that Easter evening instead of going into church he spoke much of the thought that true success can only come out of failure, true life out of death. He spoke as full of hope about S. Saviour's, partly, no doubt, from his own indomitable faith, but also from the great encouragement which the very successful work among the children--the men and women of the future--had given him, amid many other things which were causes of depression.
On the next day an operation was performed, at the Vicarage, on his foot, which cured that part of his physical trouble, but deeper evils remained. As soon as he could move after this he went to stay with one of his sisters, Miss J. Dolling, at 88, Philbeach Gardens, South Kensington. Not again was his tired body to come to S. Saviour's until it returned in the repose of death.
Unfortunately, at this time an offer of a very important pulpit was made to him, to plead for his work, at Berkeley Chapel, Mayfair, where he was already well known, during the Sunday mornings after Easter. He insisted that he was sufficiently recovered, after the operation, to accept this offer, hut two sermons of the course plainly proved to him and to others that its continuance was impossible. This preaching must have been done with extreme weakness and pain. This was the last pulpit he ever occupied. He preached on April 13 and 20, and on the last occasion made all kneel in the middle of the sermon to pray for peace in South Africa in regard to the negotiations then going on. He returned to his sister's house on Sunday, April 20, not to leave it again alive. The present writer was able to take his place at Berkeley Chapel for a few Sundays until, shortly before Father Dolling's death, the course was stopped.
Although Dolling got very much weaker, yet to the end strong hopes of recovery were entertained. He even insisted that he was well enough to see a deputation of Shrewsbury schoolboys relative to a school mission. He was so intensely vital that it was hard for himself and for others to realise that his life forces, so enormously taxed, were now really, though slowly, ebbing away.
Meanwhile constant Eucharists and intercessions were offered not only in S. Saviour's, but in many churches in London and throughout England for his recovery. The Confirmation at his own church which had been arranged for took place during his illness, and was practically a service of intercession for him as well as a Confirmation service. The Bishop of Zanzibar officiated, and asked all most earnestly to pray for their Vicar. Ascension Day at S. Saviour's was practically a day of continuous intercession through the great ascended High Priest that the life of His servant might be spared. There was also a special' Day of Intercession' for this object at S. Saviour's, and in a number of other churches, and the Holy Sacrifice was pleaded continually for his recovery.
The nightly prayer-meeting at S. Saviour's brought, besides the regular worshippers, many to the church 'to say a prayer for Father Dolling' (or, at least, to show they would do so if they knew how) who had never attended the church when he was among them.
His last illness, so patiently borne, was one of the noblest of all his sermons. He did not fret or worry about the parish and his work, but left all in God's hand, and, as long as he retained consciousness, was cheerful to the end. As he grew worse, the services of Drs. Parr and Corner, his usual medical attendants, were reinforced by the special attendance of his old friend, Dr. Einger, and of the well-known specialist, Sir Lauder Brunton.
The Sunday after Ascension was a most anxious day at S. Saviour's, and the great sorrow that seemed to be impending appeared, as it advanced, to make even the most thoughtless and selfish, in some small degree, prayerful and religious. Meanwhile, what proved to be the last Communion he was to receive on earth was administered to the now dying priest by the Vicar of the parish, Rev. H. Westall, of S. Cuthbert's, Philbeach Gardens, who had always been Dolling's friend, and who had put S. Cuthbert's at his disposal for Celebrations and other purposes during the time between the latter's leaving S. Agatha's and his visit to America.
During the next few days Father Dolling got still weaker. The secret of his sickness was undeveloped internal trouble, while no stamina or strength was left to resist it. Still his sisters and friends kept on hoping against hope, until about two or three days before the end came the doctors announced that pneumonia had appeared, and that the case was hopeless. Towards the end he was only conscious at intervals, wandering much in mind, though without pain. While still conscious, he had asked one of his sisters to write to an old Wykehamist, Mr. Paul Reubens, and to send to the latter his congratulations on the success of his play, 'Three Little Maids.' He also asked for his cheque-book, in order that he might send payment for some expenses of a young friend whom he had helped to take Holy Orders.
On the evening of May 14 he was unconscious, and talked much of his friends the Alexanders (Mrs. Stevens' near relatives), in America. He called them 'those dear kind people,' and seemed to think that he was with them on some country picnic or excursion. A little time before, while still unconscious, he tried to preach the coronation sermon to his Boys' Brigade, of which we have elsewhere written.
On May 15 he was sinking rapidly. His spirit passed away peacefully on the afternoon of that day at a little after half-past four o'clock. The present writer had the great privilege of offering up the last prayers of the Church by the bedside of the dying priest, who, however, never regained consciousness, except for an occasional recognition of one or other of his sisters. The latter--Elise, Geraldine, Adelaide, Nina, and Josephine--along with a few other intimate and old friends, were present at the last. At his sisters' request, Father Dolling's favourite Psalm (Ps. xxiii., 'The Lord is my Shepherd') was said by the bedside more than once as the end seemed immediately approaching, and shortly after this he yielded up his spirit to the God from whom it had come, and the fulfilment of whose will had been, in Christ's strength, the inspiring motive of his life from beginning to end.
Amid the profound sorrow which filled the chamber of death, it was felt to be a matter of unfeigned thankfulness that he whom God had taken had been mercifully spared any considerable degree at the last of physical pain. His tired yet happy soul sank to rest as in an untroubled sleep. Perfect peace folded him round as the perfected consecration of his strenuous life, or rather as the introduction to a life yet more strenuous, in the clearer air of the great Beyond--
'The mountain-top freedom of generous souls.'
The news of Father Dolling's death was known almost immediately at S. Saviour's, and the tolling of the church bell gave information of it to all the parish. It was the loss of their dearest and best friend to many of the parishioners, and even of the least hopeful people their better nature seemed to be touched by the news.
The next Sunday was Whitsun-Day. The body still lay at the house in Philbeach Gardens, and the Holy Eucharist was celebrated in the chamber of death by the present writer on the morning of that Feast of Pentecost, a festival which the deceased priest especially loved as being both the celebration of the Holy Spirit's work and person, and the birthday of the Catholic Church as the great Family of God.
At S. Saviour's it was a day more solemn than ever before in the history of that church. In addition to the great affection felt for Father Dolling, the latter was the first Vicar of the parish who had been removed by death. It seemed as if, during that Sunday of Pentecost, all good influences were awake at S. Saviour's, active from the living personality, and not merely from the memory of the dear friend who had passed away from sight. The preacher at the eleven o'clock Solemn Eucharist was the Rev. B. E, Waud, who spoke simply and pathetically of the privilege of Father Dolling's friendship, and of his never-to-be-forgotten love. There was an immense congregation in the evening, as so many friends of the deceased priest had come to S. Saviour's from all parts of London. The preacher on this occasion was the present writer.
Not alone in S. Saviour's, but in other parts of London, and in very many churches in England, and beyond it, did thoughts of Robert Dolling's noble life, personality, and character find expression from the pulpit on that Sunday. In saying this, we may include several Nonconformist places of worship, as well as those of the Church of England.
At 8.30 p.m. on Whitsun Monday (May 19) most of the priests who had worked with Robert Dolling at Landport and at Poplar assembled at Philbeach Gardens. After prayers had been offered in the house the clergy and choir of S. Cuthbert's parish came across to lead the body into S. Cuthbert's Church, which was full from end to end. Vespers of the Dead was then sung solemnly, and a watch was commenced by friends which was kept up all night.
On Tuesday morning (20th) a Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated, the celebrant being the Rev. Spooner Lillingston.
This service was attended by a very large congregation. At 5.30 p.m. the funeral procession left S. Cuthbert's, Philbeach Gardens, in order to go across London to S. Saviour's, Poplar. Thus, as in his life Robert Dolling brought rich and poor together in common Christian brotherhood, so by his death he cemented this fellowship in the sharing of a common sorrow at the altar and at the grave. The procession arrived at S. Saviour's parish at 7 p.m., where it was met by the lads of the Boys' Brigade in their khaki uniforms; the little fellows whom the deceased priest had so loved, and of whom he had been so proud, his hope for the parish. At their head was their chaplain, the Rev. B. E. Waud, and a large number of S. Saviour's people followed. At the church the body was received by the choir, the parochial clergy, and other clergy who had worked with Father Dolling in former years. After the body was brought into the chancel, Ps. li. was sung kneeling. At 8.80 p.m. the church was full for Vespers of the Dead. A short address was then given. The coffin, surrounded by the usual lights, was covered with an immense number of floral wreaths and crosses. One little offering may be specially noted. The children of the Infants' School sent a wreath of forget-me-nots. We may mention also that the children of a family at Tonbridge, whom he loved, sent forget-me-nots to be thrown by their father's hand into the grave.
All night a solemn watch was kept by clergy, relatives, friends, and parishioners. Until midnight the church was visited by a great many people, and all night there were constant worshippers, besides those who were appointed watchers.
From 4 a.m. on, during the next morning, crowds of working-men visited the church, for Robert Dolling was known and loved by East End workers far outside the limit of his own congregation. The men came in for a few minutes in their working clothes, and then went on to work, 'just simply and naturally,' as he would have said himself. No priest in modern times ever so loved the working classes as Dolling did, and gave himself so fully to raise and help them, and the love they felt for him in all the places in which he had laboured was far wider than church attendances could measure. From 4.30 to 9 a.m. there were half-hourly Celebrations of Holy Communion, each of Father Dolling's former colleagues being celebrant in turn. The children attended the Celebration at nine o'clock, and at ten o'clock the Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated; the celebrant was the Rev. J. Elwes, the senior curate, who had been placed in temporary charge of the parish. The church was densely crowded, numbers being unable to obtain admission. The immense congregation was in black, relieved only by some uniforms of soldiers. In front of the chancel stood two soldiers (two of Father Dolling's boys), with arms reversed, who remained there to the end of the service. The congregation included about one hundred clergy from all parts of London and the provinces, and persons representative of almost every class and type in the community. Mr. W. H. Hill and Mr. Athelstan Eiley attended for the English Church Union; the Mayor of Poplar (Mr. W. Crooks) and Mrs. Crooks were also present.
The mode of rendering the Requiem, both as to ceremonial and music, was singularly impressive and pathetic, and was marked both by dignity and simplicity.
It was a grand and fitting 'Vale'--the farewell of the Catholic Church--' farewell, but not for ever,' to the brother whose body rested before the altar of God. For him, as for all the family of God, was pleaded in Christ's own way, in the Eucharistic Mysteries, the one Perfect Sacrifice.
The Sequence was that usual at the Burial of the Dead in Western Christendom, the Dies Ira. At the Offertory was sung 'Christ enthroned in highest heaven,' and at the Ablutions, 'Now the labourer's task is o'er.' Throughout the entire service the words of the Book of Common Prayer for the Holy Communion Service were strictly followed, except that the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel were taken from the office for the Burial of the Dead in Edward VI.'s First Prayer-Book. After the Mass, the celebrant, having exchanged his chasuble for a cope, censed and asperged the coffin. The service was concluded with t.Vio Nunc Dimittis.
Both the Bishop of London (Dr. Ingram) and the Bishop of Stepney (Dr. Lang), who had specially wished to conduct the Burial Service, now entered the chancel. During the interval before this, however, the Bishop of London had laid a cross of flowers with his own hands on the coffin, kneeling afterwards in prayer before the altar. The Burial Service commenced at twelve o'clock. The two Bishops were vested in black copes, the Bishop of London also wearing his mitre.
The Bishop of London delivered an address, in the course of which, speaking to the congregation as his 'fellow-mourners,' he said that 'His heart was very full and his voice was very unsteady. The picture rose before him of only a few years back, when he stood at those chancel steps with their dear priest, who was then full of health and vigour. The keynote of his ministry which he (the Bishop) gave to him was, "I will raise me up a faithful priest." He could see him as he (the Bishop) tried to paint what a faithful priest was. He was to be, first, God's man; second, a man wholly devoted to the service of his fellow-men; third, loyal to his Church. He could bear witness that their dear friend had been a true and faithful priest--faithful to his God and faithful to his Church. Certainly one of the secrets of Robert Dolling's wonderful power was his combination of attachment to Catholic ceremonial with an earnest evangelical personal love for our Lord Jesus Christ. He had been told that at Prayer-Meetings Robert Dolling seemed to speak personally to the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not suppose that a more loving heart ever beat. He remembered that at a Church Congress at which they were both present the burden of his speech to the clergy was, "Do you love your people?"
'When everybody else had given a man up, it was always said, "Dolling will take him." Thousands felt that day as if they had lost their best friend on earth, and often the only earthly friend they had. He had died, worn out by work and worry.'
The Bishop concluded by praying 'That eternal peace might rest upon him; that eternal light might shine upon him; and that his untiring spirit might yet find work beyond the veil.'
The Dead March in 'Saul' was played on the organ as the burial procession, headed hy the crucifix, moved down the church to the west door. The coffin was borne by six soldiers in uniform. Of these one was a colour-sergeant of the Grenadier Guards, another a sergeant in the Royal Artillery; the others were one from the Royal Marines, two from the East Surrey Regiment, and one from Kneller Hall. All these soldiers had come to perform this last sad office from true affection for Robert Dolling, whose personal friends they had been. An immense assemblage of people filled the streets outside, and the utmost respect was manifested.
The place of interment was Woking Cemetery, in the beautiful portion where S. Alban's, Holborn, burial-ground is situated, and by permission willingly granted by Father Suckling, the Vicar of S. Alban's. The grave lies next to that where rests the body of Father Mackonochie. (It is worth noticing that when Dolling himself had been in charge of the Maidman Street Mission, he had felt so strongly the importance of reverent regard for the graves of the departed members of his flock that he procured a special piece of ground at Bow Cemetery for the use of S. Martin's people, that they might be a family in death as in life.) The chief mourners who followed the body from S. Saviour's were the sisters and other relatives of the deceased priest, together with immediate personal friends. The clergy who had been Father Dolling's fellow-helpers at S. Agatha's and S. Saviour's, as well as the various workers of the latter parish, also joined in the procession from the church. A special Necropolis train was taken for the Woking Cemetery, Brookwood. At the latter place a large number of other friends met the company from Poplar, including among them groups representing various phases and interests of Robert Dolling's crowded life during its different periods. A number of City men who had been much helped by Father Dolling's Lent addresses in the City churches arranged to be present at a special memorial service on Wednesday, May 20, the day before the burial, not being able to attend the latter. This service was held at S. Laurence Jewry, Gresham Street, E.G., by the special consent and concurrence of the Rector, the Rev. J. Stephen Barrass. Among many from Scotland and Ireland who wrote expressing their presence in spirit at the burial was the Bishop of S. Andrew's, who sent to the mourners an affectionate expression of his sympathy with them and his deep regard for the departed priest. Also an immense number of other letters were received from persons unavoidably hindered from attending. A large contingent was present from S. Agatha's, Landport, including its present Vicar, the Rev. G. T. Tremenheere, and the choir, acolytes, teachers, workers, and other friends to the number of nearly one hundred. Winchester College was well represented; its love was with him to the end. Dr. Fearon (ex-Headmaster), Dr. Burge (Headmaster), the Rev. J. T. Bram-ston, and Messrs. M. J. Rendell, F. Morshead, and A. K. Cook (masters) were present, also the Rev. E. W. Sergeant of Bournemouth, ex-master of Winchester, and formerly one of the clergy with Dr. Linklater at S. Agatha's. The Winchester boys sent a wreath 'In affectionate remembrance,' and some of them, as well as several old Wykehamists, were present. One of Robert Dolling's Harrow masters, the Rev. W. Done Bushell, attended the burial. From the Gordon Boys' Home, in which Father Dolling took great interest (for, dissimilar as he was in many things to General Gordon, he shared with him, besides his Christian faith, his interest in boys and his love of the outcast), came Colonel and Mrs. Purchas, Major Collins, and the Rev. H. D. Madge. Prominent among the clergy were Fathers Suckling and Stanton, S.Alban's, Holborn, and Father Wainwright, Vicar of S. Peter's, London Docks. Some of 'Brother Bob's' old postmen friends had been also at the service in S. Saviour's. The theological students of King's College, London, where he had spoken shortly before his death, sent a cross of flowers.
When the procession entered the Woking cemetery it moved through the sunlight of a beautiful spring day, and amid the singing of birds, to the grave, which is surrounded with fir-trees, in a spot where everything around suggests the peace and hope of the faith of Christ.
The Bishop of Stepney read the last part of the Burial Service, and after that said a few simple, natural, and most touching words. He said that he desired to lead all around, fellow-mourners in a common sorrow, in thanksgiving for all Father Dolling had done, been, said, and taught to his people; in prayer for his light, rest, and peace; in prayer for those he left behind; his sisters, the people of his parishes at Poplar and Portsmouth, the clergy who had worked with him, his soldiers and sailors all over the world, the Winchester boys, and all the tired and despairing ones to whom he had been so true a friend.
As all moved quietly past and looked down into the grave there arose without a doubt in many a soul the 'vows that bind the will in silence made'--the resolve to aim higher and to live more truly because of the friendship of the noble heart that is now in this world stilled.
At the head of Father Dolling's grave stands a Celtic cross with this inscription:
It would be hard to imagine a more suitable spot for the last resting-place of Robert Dolling's tired body than that in which it lies, beside that of another brave and faithful servant of God, among old friends of the S. Alban's days, beneath the green fir-trees, the singing of birds around, and over all the Cross--over his grave, and on the rood that marks this portion of the ground--the Cross of Christ, the only lasting thing amid the ceaseless changes of the world.
It would be out of place to close this book with any long-drawn eulogium. The story of Robert Dolling's life tells its own tale of untiring and unselfish devotion to the highest ends of existence. We might have expected to find in his character the scars of the many conflicts through which he passed in the course of his comparatively short yet stormy life, but his soul was in reality unsinged and unsullied by the fierceness of controversial fires. He bore witness to many great principles both in the life of the Church and of the nation, but it is not as the champion of a party that Robert Radclyffe Dolling will be finally remembered. It is as that of one 'who loved much' that his name will live. No better words can be used to describe his personality and character than those which were engraved on Shelley's tomb, and which we have placed at the heading of this final chapter of his life's history:
Cor Cordium (Heart of Hearts).