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9: Parents and Horses (part 2)


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« on: January 24, 2023, 08:44:14 am »

"All administrations," I pointed out, "of Right as much as Left, lie deliberately, without stopping, in a democratic state. When Cripps solemnly announced that the pound would never be devalued, I knew that it must have been arranged to devalue it. And in a surprisingly short time devaluation occurred. In a similar way President Roosevelt in an election address solemnly declared American boys would never again be asked to fight on foreign soil. He was elected, and soon afterwards American boys were fighting on foreign soil. How else can you rule a modern democracy? The newspapers in a two or more Party state make any other course impossible. No one is shocked that the diplomat practices every duplicity (and the skilfuller the liar the better the diplomat). The limitation imposed upon the democratic politician's power-impulses is responsible for an ugly mood, and he would actually come to relish deceiving this ignorant multitude which possessed the right to strip him of power at the ballot-boxes."

"I suppose so," said Laming.

"Democracy confers much power but stops short at the real thing. It is like a woman who is a sexual tease. It wears out a man very greedy of power. He gets to hate in the end this jade democracy, who says, 'Rule me—but I shall dismiss you at once if you take too many liberties.' As you know all our Ministers are wrecks. The cause is the strain imposed on their temperament because of all the things they are not allowed to do."

Laming laughed discreetly.

"Slyness develops to a terrible extent. For instance, nurses. Everyone hates nurses, and the Administration is no exception to the rule. But it was common knowledge that the payment nurses received was archaic: a quarter of a century ago it might have sufficed, but for some time it has been recognized to be scandalously small. In these circumstances it was suddenly announced in the Press that a New Deal for Nurses had been decreed by a benevolent Government."

Laming nodded. "Yes. I read about that. I suppose they had to do something."

"Well, listen. A shopkeeper in Rotting Hill with whom I gossip, and actually a socialist, has a sister who is a nurse at a large London hospital. This sister spent a week-end with him a fortnight ago. What she imparted on the subject of the New Deal for Nurses filled him with indignant astonishment. When the New Deal came into force, she was owed eighty pounds, of this she received only five or six. The new scheme was retroactive as much as twelve months. Another nurse who was owed forty or fifty pounds received nothing, but actually had to pay six pounds."

"How extraordinary."

"Yes. The explanation is that under the new ruling nurses have to pay for their own keep, there is an increase in income-tax payments, and so on. Consequently these nurses, earning four pounds instead of three a week are much worse off instead of better off, but the Government has had all the benefit of the ballyhoo."

"Ho, ho, ho," cheerlessly but expressively hooted Laming.

"That is, of course, frightfully sly," I continued.

"I should think it is."

"Do not let us blame Ministers for this, it must be the work of some malignant underling. I cannot see Bevin or Cripps or Attlee—much as they must dislike nurses, having spent considerable periods in their company—I cannot see any of them playing so scurvy a trick."

"Oh!"

"No. I am not interested in Party. Only in a Party spirit could one suppose that a Minister could think up so vindictive a trick. And the same applies to many other disgraceful tricks, yes and major acts of legislation."

"They are responsible, aren't they?"

"But they are grey and old and full of sleep."

"Oh, I see. I must remember that in future."

"Whether it is the collective policy of the Cabinet or not, there are steps taken under their aegis leading in a direction I regard as humanly bad. Here is an example. What a National Health Act dentist receives for an entire dental plate, top and bottom, is nine pounds. He and his mechanic cannot be expected to turn out a very good plate for that money, and they in effect do not turn out an awfully good plate. But it is now planned to supersede the present old-world picture of thousands of little free-enterprise outfits, each making its own little dental plates and the same man doing a stopping as extracts a tooth. 'Clinics' are to be set up, where the little client of the Welfare State can have the mass extraction in one department and get his plate in another: a building where thousands of dental artisans will be emptying the gums of teeth and clapping little plastic plates into rows of little open mouths in assembly-line fashion. In the United States I have seen establishments given up to mass extraction of teeth. My own reaction to such methods is to find them degrading. If more and more of that is socialism I don't like socialism. The men now in power seem to regard it as part of their sacred mission to create an assembly-line world and to reproduce the atmosphere of the factory in every part of human life, from the dentist's chair to the marriage bed. This I am sure is nothing specifically to do with socialism. But it is inseparable from socialism as it is served up today."

"To make everything in the image of a machine is an idiosyncrasy, yes, it is." Laming nodded.

"Not only an idiosyncrasy of British socialism. But the trouble is that our socialists are inclined to think the more mechanistic a thing is the more socialist. This is referred to as planning. There was too little planning formerly: our chaotic cities bear witness to that. But an over-planned life is at least as bad as no plan at all. It is their rigour that is the worst thing about our new masters—not their socialism."

"Socialism is always rigid," Laming objected, "that is what is bad about Socialism, it is not something peculiar to these socialists. The collectivizing of society involves the tightening up of every control. No, I do not see how it can be otherwise than rigid."

"Whether that be so or not, the intoxication of industrial techniques seems to impel men everywhere to transform any human process into a mechanical process. This is described by Toynbee as the Apathetic Fallacy. The sense of power obtained from the control of a machine must not be forgotten. Finally, infection from Russia is a big factor. Industry was made into a power-god there."

"In a society predominantly agricultural socialism would be inhuman just the same," Laming politely but firmly insisted. Socialism for him could only signify a reformatory for anti-social humanity, or a puritan AUSTERITY parching up the human world.

I lit a cigarette, and he courteously watched me.

"I might become a socialist," I announced.

"Oh yes? Oh."

"As an obscure member in that racket I should be scrupulous about several things. For instance, I should make no objection to the closing of the village schools!"

"Oh yes?"

"No. That would be ridiculous. But I should set a limit, in my mind, beyond which mechanization should not go. Also I should propose, for those taking office, a thorough overhaul; with a view to checking up on power-complexes, latent as well as in flower."

"Oh, really. I see."

As we sat silent Laming gazed at the floor. And then we began talking about the Parents' School, as he called it. He did not appear embarrassed as a result of my thoughtless confession that I would regard it as ridiculous to oppose the closure of Village Schools. He may have assumed that I was joking, and he regards himself as somewhat slow in recognizing the absurd. At lunch he had given me an outline of what had occurred. Since we had been back in the sitting-room I had been going into the political backgrounds of the dispute about the village school. I wished to acquaint myself with his attitude towards Welfare State politics in general, for at that time I had not of course read anything he had written. I enjoyed his youthful firmness, but he could not be acquitted of rigidity himself. His politics, I felt, were two-dimensional.

This young clergyman belonged to the type of Englishmen of which the most perfect specimens are Edmund Burke, Henry Maine, and a half-dozen others. Those who experience the violent "rebound of a powerful mind from ... philosophical Radicalism," to use Maine's words, are described today as "reactionaries". More clumsily they might be termed "rebounders". Reactionary is of course a term originated by the radicals, as a way of describing a man who shies away or violently "bounds" or bounces off, radical dogmas. In this sense Laming is undoubtedly reactionary.

I must here interpolate a reminder. There are of course other types of mind equally powerful, which rebound with equal violence: but in this case it is from the spectacle of the abuses flourishing in the systems to which Maine and Burke gave their support. And I must add that there is, in my opinion, an even powerfuller type of mind which does not rebound in this manner at all. I refer to that order of mind which prefers not to see things in such stark black and white.

Laming's recoil from the radical is extremely severe, but his disinclination to appear in a passionate role leads to a deceptive assumption of philosophic composure. But beneath perhaps not a saintly but a properly priestly aversion from passion, could be found enough fighting spirit to equip a wild cat. Sublimated as it is, it enables him to appear hardly interested at times.

It was a Saturday so, if I was to see the improvised village school in full swing, it would be necessary to come over again on Monday. This I decided to do. Accordingly at eleven o'clock on that day I found myself once more at Ketwood Vicarage, a very different place to what it had been two days earlier. It was now a school.

Let me quote from the typed report of the Parents' School a short passage explaining how the school had taken shape.

"Everyone wanted a school to be opened in Ketwood. We could use the Church Room, which had been a Church School before the Council School was built. One man and three ladies offered to help with the teaching. We enrolled cleaning and catering committees. Several people offered to give one child his midday meal with their own children, and the residue fell to my wife to feed in the Vicarage. Numerous offers of equipment were made, of potatoes, and of labour and materials to make a boys' lavatory. We also enrolled an entertainments committee to provide funds. And we chose a treasurer. We decided to follow the times and terms of the Council School...."

There were between twenty and thirty children all told. "A Mr. Adams of East Gidding, the next village, had offered to help me with the juniors, and two ladies were going to alternate with the infants, one of these, Mrs. Tracey, was a parent herself, and the other, Miss Pusey, was a farmer's daughter. We also had voluntary needlework and music teachers."

The Church Room was divided by a screen; the upper end was reserved for the juniors, the lower end for the infants. Sufficient small chairs and tables were somehow collected, and so the school could begin. Where Laming is describing the opening day he writes: "After religious instruction I gave the boys writing, composition, and sums. At dinner-time my wife found a large party to feed. But farmers had provided the potatoes, and as long as rabbits were seasonable we had plenty of them. A farmer's wife gave a pudding for almost every day of the year."

The day I visited the school, classes were proceeding both in the Church House and at the Vicarage, and I suppose this was always the case. In the room lying between the sitting-room and the front door a drawing lesson was in progress, and these village children had filled this largish nursery, the use to which it normally is put, with barbaric and sometimes arresting images. A farmer's daughter presided over these creative enterprises. A short way down the road is the Church House. There we found engaged in strenuous pedagogy a highly-competent volunteer, Mr. Dunns.

Here is what Laming writes about this colleague.

"I was pleased to receive the following from a Mr. Dunns who was then living in a London hotel. '... My last permanent job as a teacher ended in 1925 when I resigned from the Hong Kong Government Schools to enter business. During the last war, however, I assisted the Rev. —— in running a school in an internment camp in China.' (All these names are fictitious, lest their presence in this context should lead to victimization)." Such caution I feel is excessive. At least I think I may say that the East Gidding helper is not Adams but Carson and the author of those excellent verses I quoted, used by Laming in his Church magazine editorial.

Laming is a Robinson Crusoe, a castaway in a hostile social element. Carson and the ex-schoolmaster are fellow castaways: though I am not aware what Mr. Dunns' views are, he knows communist China and has certainly thought his thoughts. These men of bad will, each one a misfit or displaced, had put much enthusiastic ill-will into the creation of this academy for infants outside the law. For although the local educational authorities had informed Laming that they would not prosecute immediately, it was quite certain that prosecution would ensue before long.

In Laming's detailed account of the Parents' School many facts connected with the methods of the bureaucracy, and even more to the point, the state of mind of the socialist officials, are brought to our notice. I have here before me the young Vicar's Notes, in which he parades his authorities, all affirming the inviolability of the Family. His authorities did not, to my surprise, seem very good ones. That, however, is immaterial: the main thing was that this clergyman, like all good clergymen, was holding fast to the past, to the tradition, and standing in the way of innovation. Religion is an immovable block of dogmas, anchored in the past; it belongs to the past, in order to survive, it must prevent people, at all costs, from getting too far away from the past. Obstruction, and again obstruction, is its watchword. Laming should have had more impressive a battalion of authorities, for it is also the priest's business to persuade and to overawe with Authority. But the main thing is that he should stand in the way of Progress, that he should point back to the Past, and the Family stands for all that is stable, and is essentially a thing of the sacred Past, and if for no other reason its integrity must be defended with heroic desperation. I hesitated about his authorities, but it is better for me not to quote such stuff as this: "John Stuart Mill ... quotes Lord Atkin as saying, in 1919: 'Each house is a domain into which the King's writ does not seem to run, and to which his officers do not seek to be admitted,' and he adds, 'In Seymayne's Case (1604) it laid down: "the house of Everyman is to him as his castle and fortress".' Who is this likely to edify or to convince? I will not burden you with such musty testimony, if only to protect in this instance the heroic little clergyman from himself. It is enough to stand witness, as I am doing, that Laming is one of the most retrograde individuals in England; through and through "anti-moderne", authentically contemporary in all his tissues with Aquinas.

So it is for what he stands, in line with the natural law, that is interesting and respectable (I say respectable because I am not myself an advocate for the Past—though I should not be writing this were I an advocate for Progress either). Where he sees so well the futility of "gaining debating points" when describing the course taken by his enemies, he fails to recognize, it seems to me, this futility of debating points in the service of religion. But let me quote him where he is describing an interview with the enemy, to make clearer what I mean. "The mistake of the officials was to treat this expression of natural feeling of natural law as a subject off which to score debating points. This was a stupid and untimely attitude. We stood for the family unit and the Village, while they stood for what appeared to us an abstraction, 'the Children'."

This is actually very well expressed, and abstraction is precisely the word demanded. Laming says that he and his Village are for the concrete ("the family unit and the Village"), whereas his enemies are for something theoretic and abstract. The concreteness which Laming has acquired from his scholastic reading and his sympathy for the roman communion is possibly the main attribute of this frail but resolute priest.

Not only did the action of the State in closing down the Village schools seem to Laming to be putting an axe to the roots of a civilization which had endured for nearly two thousand years, but he feels that the utterances as well as the actions of the officials concerned first and last, revealed a considerable degree of consciousness of what they were doing. Some of the most instructive passages in his Notes are those dealing with the contacts of the officials with himself and the spokesmen of the Village. The outfit which the Village of Ketwood had to deal with was the Mid. Ladbrokeshire. You will recall that Laming refers to the official in command of this region as "Mr. Mid". Here is a note describing a meeting at Ketwood between "Mr. Mid", the Villagers and Laming with his associates in the Parents' School Scheme.

"Mr. Adams of East Gidding made elaborate imputations against Mr. Mid's strict veracity—he would not venture on anything more explicit, certainly not a word of four letters. Mr. Mid replied hotly that he thought an attempt was being made to insult him! This passage incited Mr. Mid to a rash frankness. When a resident said that the closure of the school would kill the village, Mr. Mid said that the small village would dwindle away in the next twenty years: agriculture was all right, it only needed a man and machines; industry was what needed attention. He would prefer to cart labourers from towns than children to centres for education. I wondered, afterwards, what Cobbett would have said to this thesis; the Ladbrokeshire villages, in his time, had about double their present inhabitants, and Cobbett constantly complained of the flow of people away from fertile parts to barren areas.

"Then a calm and rational parent suggested that it was inhuman for young children to wait about for the proposed transport in bad weather, and asked Mr. Mid to consider a concession on the grounds of humanity. 'I cannot afford to be human,' was Mr. Mid's answer.

"Several ex-service men were parents, and they raised a clamour about 'freedom'. Mr. Mid rounded on them. 'You are not free,' he said. Only people who had as high a salary as Mr. Mid were free and he could afford to send his daughter a considerable distance from Halchester. The others had, in reality, no choice or freedom."

The following is one of the most instructive passages of all.

"But the most important remarks of Mr. Frost were those that described conversations he had had with other members of these committees, in to which he had introduced himself in our interests. Alderman G., an educationalist of high position who has been mentioned several times, told Mr. Frost that he 'had no time for parents'. Alderman B., who also had more than a finger in the educational pie, declared to Mr. Frost that 'parents were the greatest obstacle to their children's education'. These phrases need underlining. They need contrasting with the American view, expressed in the House Committee's Report on un-American Activities, which combats the Marxian view that: 'Women should have children for the state to educate, train and use, but parents should not have any say in training according to their own ideas.' Then it follows that these remarks attributed to Aldermen G. and B., although they would be considered un-American and Marxian, are not un-British. The inferences are that the family as a unit has been irreparably destroyed in England, the educational authorities taking good care that it should not crop up again, and that a Marxian form of education has been substituted in its place."

These words, "Parents are the greatest enemies of their children", is the key to the official attitude. In the official world of Education they occupy much the same position as horses in the official world of agriculture.

I have here a cutting from the Sunday Express which spot-lights the Horse as a bugbear of the mechanizing innovator, symbolic of another day as is the Parent. "Lord Leigh, Midlands agriculturist, said at a ploughing competition at Warwick yesterday that the best ploughing was done by horses—not traction. Then he challenged a reported statement by Mr. Harry Ferguson, the tractor manufacturer, that the 'horse is the real enemy of agriculture'."

Next are a few lines from the Laming Report about Blatchover's vicar, which serve to bring into sharp relief the conflicting views of the traditional clergy and the Socialist clergy.

"My surprise was, I suppose, due to a report that Mr. Blatchover had called the Ketwood parents selfish. But anyone quotes Robespierre now and then. And the Christian Crusade, which originated at Blatchover under Mr. Blatchover's predecessor, claimed to have reconciled Christianity and Marxism. Marx, of course, had a poor opinion of the family and family life."

With considerable good sense, however, Laming points out that, whatever one may think of his position, Dick Bartleton is an honest man.

"At the same time Mr. Blatchover's position as a Christian-communist (and the Archbishop of York said that this was a valid position, whatever the reader considers!) is more honest than that of 'conservatives', etc., who introduce communism by stealth. I dare say that my guess about Russia is as worthless as is Mr. Blatchover's."

There are many things in this fascinating report I should have liked to have quoted, but I must turn to the last pages where we come to the dénouement, which, as could be foreseen from the start, was dismal and disheartening. The village as well as the improvised personnel, at a meeting full of sadness for Laming, voted that the Parents' School dissolve, and that the children, after all, obey the dictates of the centralizing State. Let me give you this in the language of the defeated Vicar.

"Then the ladies began their movement. How far it was concocted of influences from without, it was not possible to guess. But one of the ladies said that if the school continued the children would probably be victimized in the matter of scholarships, and would at any rate be deprived of free medical treatment, etc. Other mothers followed. A secret ballot was suggested. Then a father interjected that if anyone could not state their opinion openly, it was not worth much. So each parent was asked whether he or she wished (a) the School to be continued at Ketwood; (b) their child to attend Melton or (c) Blatchover. The voting fell into three nearly equal groups. A third did not mind whether their children attended Melton or Blatchover: a third desired Blatchover; and a third—predominantly men—wanted Ketwood private school to continue. Mr. Adams used all his eloquence in vain. Mr. Dunns supported him. A lame resolution was carried that those who wanted to should continue Ketwood school. But the firm opposition of the ladies (my wife is excepted from all this) was evident enough.

"Partly, of course, the split was due to weariness. The women had carried most of the burden of teaching (the infants), of cleaning and of catering. The housewife's lot is 'not a happy one'. Then fear of victimization and of missing something for the children was at work. Few families these days are solid enough to educate or provide for the education of their young beyond a very tender age.

"But there is another factor, which I will barely indicate, that was added to the monotonous economic motive. It may be that men are less completely suburbanized, in this land, than their women. And the suburban dweller, who supplies neither food nor thought, is less free and more infantile than members of real towns or real countrysides."

I suppose that our quixotic vicar left that meeting with some comprehension at last of the reality of village life in England in mid-twentieth century and some recognition not only of the power of the Welfare State, but of the absurdity of expecting anyone to back you up, except for an excited moment or two, in your defiance of authority.

---

The quotations will not, I hope, have been found too fatiguing. All these minutiæ, if it can be tolerated, provides one with a close-up as it were, which is invaluable for the student but rather irksome to the general reader. I have taken this risk because of the necessity in such a case to provide convincingly factual data. Should we, or can we, in the twentieth century, have a religion? Can the amateurish, infinitely latitudinarian English Church—allowing, as it does, every idiosyncrasy in its priesthood, so that we find in its ranks everything from a Marxist to a papist—can so doctrinally flaccid and obligingly adulterated a faith—can so go-as-you-please and teach-as-you-like unmilitant an institution as the Church of England, do anything but read the burial service over religion, and keep its grave in a decent condition? It is the Church of England itself that has emptied its churches.

In Laming and Dick Bartleton we have a vigorous type of priest. The first stands for institutional Christianity: the second for the Christianity of the early Church. The second would echo the injunction of St. Augustine to purge your heart of all human affection, love of mother or father, love of family, love of your friends. These emotions must be eradicated: in their place will be abstract Man. And here is the difference between St. Augustine and the Vicar of Blatchover. The former would install God in the place vacated by Mother, by Family, by Friend. The latter would install Man, as symbolized by the State. The Vicar of Blatchover is, I should say, a very honest and good-hearted man, and there is no reason not to add a devout man. The only thing at issue, in the present context, is whether he is an efficient priest. His kind of mind, or rather his type of faith, may not furnish the best material (I suggest with due humility) for the priestly calling.

There is institutional religion, of course, and there is religious experience and religious feeling. Institutional religion is a technique for enabling a certain teaching to survive, that is all. The Catholics have been the great masters of that technique. When I read the other day how the Pope had dealt with the question of whether the Holy Mother of God ascended to Heaven as flesh and blood or not, I reflected how excellent the Catholic judgement is. For, of course, he answered, "Yes, as flesh and blood, dressed in the costume of a carpenter's wife of the period." In a similar case an Anglican Divine would have reflected how absurd the carnal account would sound to the average bank clerk or stockjobber and would have answered, "No, of course not. She left her mortal envelope on earth." Yet it seems obvious if you star the Resurrection of the Dead as a major article of faith there must be no obliging modifications to satisfy protests on the score of "unlikelihood". All effective institutions, determined to endure at all cost—like Russian Communism, for instance—do not debate. No arguments could make them alter a syllable of their doctrine. If you worship a Blue Cow you disregard the standard criticism, to the effect that in the natural order there are no cows of that colour. What is more, it makes it easier for the believer, the colour being an improbable blue. This is not a paradox. The blueness gives the imagination something to bite on, as it were, and with religion the imagination is the high faculty involved.

The "truth" of the imagination is, of course, quite different from the "truth" of physical science. A Church attempting to assimilate its truth to the truth of the slide-rule is what we have witnessed in England.

To summarize what I have wished to say: that to endure, an institution cannot be too rigid. The inviolability of the Family is a major doctrine of Catholicism: there any concession would be impossible. The Family is, or was, a microcosm where age, not youth, rules; it was from that fact that it derived its great importance for the Church. Now my point is that the Vicar of Ketwood is the type of institutional clergyman able to appreciate the only terms on which a creed can survive, or rather the only technique that insures endurance. But although his action at Ketwood was a model for what a village priest should do faced with the closing of the village school, there were several small matters he had lost sight of, or had never seen. One was that the village is now, in England, only a name. Then the Family he so rightly set himself to defend, no longer exists—or at least not in the way that in the first instance made it an object of such interest to the Church. I think the fact is that Laming had taken action to protect something which his grandfather or great-grandfather had sold, or had been too sleepy to notice was being removed piecemeal.

---

For anyone who has lived in America, where on Sunday the churches are crowded to capacity, England is now almost a country without a religion: I cannot accept Rymer's theory that in a village where the only people ever present at divine service on Sunday are the Vicar and his family, the rest of the inhabitants being good-Christians-who-do-not-go-to-Church, the Christian religion flourishes. I cannot believe in good Christians who never visit the church at the end of the village street. Although it does not follow that the people who fill the local church in the U.S. are all good Christians, the efficacy of liturgical disciplines appears to me obvious.

Two world-wars in rapid succession have hurried the end of Christianity in England. Socialism, as time passes, melting into communism, will take religion's place in the form of a brotherly millennium—a heaven on earth for good socialist boys and girls, and a hell-on-earth for the wicked (vide slave-camps, salt-mines, etc.). In place of Christ there will be men-gods like Stalin or Hitler, a High God being dispensed with. But that is taking the long view: it may be a decade before matters go as far as that. Meanwhile, it is difficult to see how Christianity can live, if only for a moment, except by some heroic measure. One that recommends itself to me, is that all the churches, vicarages, bishops' palaces, etc., be closed.

The clergy would then become a missionary army, as friars, I suppose: poor but impassioned men, tramping from village to village, and filling the cities with their prayers and curses. I have mentioned above how the Bishop of Halchester recommended his clergy to refrain from any serious twisting of the Lion's tail. But having turned its back upon its empty churches and worldly possessions, the Church could if it wanted to nearly twist the old Lion's tail off its rump. The prisons would be so full of obstreperous friars that there would be no room for the normal delinquents. For it is quite certain that if any sincere Christian expressed his views at the street corner and at the market place concerning any government he would find his way into the lock-up. But probably as the time is so short now before the extinction of all religion has been consummated, it would be better to continue to pretend that there is a religion. So long as men can be found to live a retired country life at about five pounds a week, or for the same sum lead a far less secluded one in a populous suburb, to keep the churches there, since the money involved in the servicing of a national Church would be put to some un-christian use by whatever government received it!

A final word regarding the Reverend Matthew Laming. The last I heard of him, he was to interview the Principal of the London College of Divinity. That signifies, I think, that his pastorate at Ketwood is coming to an end, and he will temporarily, at least, find himself in a more theoretic field. The Meldrum Deanery Magazine will have less unconventional editorials, the village of Ketwood will prepare to fade away, according to the wishes of the new urban-minded rulers of England, the parents following their children to some approved centre, but repudiating the functions of "The Parent". The probably ill-made village houses will quickly drop to pieces, and the vicarage become the week-end residence of some suburban spiv.

Meanwhile, wherever Laming goes, it will seem that the clock has been put back and Anglican Christianity will be seen displaying a Roman energy; and if ever he should come to wear the mitre and leggings of a bishop, an entire diocese would be mobilized on Ketwood lines. A head-on collision with the State would immediately ensue. The Church would be disestablished, its funds sequestrated.

But the time required to realize this glorious climax, Laming's career having but just begun, will no doubt be denied him by some Apocalypse.

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