|Chapter Number||XXII (Continued), XXIII & XXIV|
|Chapter Title||London: St Paul's, The Sussex Vicarage & "A Temple Built in Music."|
|Newspaper Title||The Canberra Times|
|Trove Title||From Windjammer to Battleship|
FROM WINDJAMMER TO BATTLESHIP
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
BY S. G. FIELDING
"It is difficult, almost impossible," he said, "to express my thoughts and feelings; they are too deep for speech. I had no idea that anything on earth could have produced the spiritual ec- stasy I have experienced. It was in- deed a Divine service, almost too sacred to think of, even to you, Miss Wilkinson. Of one thing I felt cer-
tain that your brother and Tommy the sailor man was with us, and tak- ing part in the service."
"I had the same feeling," Adele said. "I am so glad we thought of going there first. I am sure Harry would have approved of it."
"It is years," continued Jack, since I attended an Anglican service. The last time was in Sydney, while we were loading at Miller's Point. I went one Sunday to a church on the hill close by; that was, of course, be- fore my religious experiences. The service was, to the best of my recol- lection, dry and formal, and wearisome, which was probably my own fault. This has been a revelation to me of what the Church of England really is. It seems beyond my wildest dreams to think that I should ever be worthy to minister in such a church."
"Harry used to say that he thought you had a great message to deliver,"
"It is good of you to remind me of your brother's encouraging words. I sometimes think that he may have been right. Who knows? Anyhow, the dominant impression I have re- ceived from the service this morning is the unreality of all this noisy, bust- ling, material life around us, and the reality of the spiritual and eternal.
"Wait until you see my brother's beautiful church and our lovely Sus- sex scenery. Why, here he comes, earlier than I expected."
"Here you are already," exclaimed the Canon. "I thought that I would have been first. Got away earlier than I anticipated. Left your order at Whippel's, and the parcel will be sent on the Vicarage; it ought to be there by the time we arrive." He said to Jack, "and here is a letter addressed to you I found waiting at the bank; It was at "Lloyd's. I had occasion to go there. I happened to know the manager, otherwise I doubt if he would have given it to me."
"Are you sure it is for me?" said Jack, surprise expressed on his face.
"It is addressed to you anyhow. You had better open it and see."
Jack opened the letter, and found that it was from Chand Kaur, inform- ing him that he was sending a draft for a thousand pounds, which would be placed to his credit at Lloyd's Bank. The letter addressed a hope that he might be able to use it for an Oxford or Cambridge course, though that would be entirely at his own discretion. Letters of introduc- tion were enclosed to the Warden of Chand's old college and to some of the fellows and tutors. "You will find the Warden a rather conservative English- man, with a slight prejudice against Australians, Indians, and all foreigners, but Banks and Street you will find two of the greatest and most lovable of Oxford men. Please give them my kindest regards. I somehow feel sure that you will go there."
When they got into the train, Jack showed the letter to the Canon, who thought that the advice given was very good. He himself was an Oxford man; but he said, "We will take over
matters when we get home, and if you wish I will give you a letter to the Bishop of London, who is the best man I know of from whom to seek advice. I understand my brother wrote to him concerning you from Colombo."
THE SUSSEX VICARAGE
The Vicarage car met them at the little railway station. Canon Wilkin- son possessed a good living, in addition to which he had married the Squire's only daughter, who had recently, at her father's death, inherited the family es- tates, worth about £5000 a year. It would have been difficult, therefore, for the young sailor to have cast his anchor after his wanderings in a happier, haven than this Sussex Vicarage. En- tertained by cultured English people, who strove to make his stay with them as pleasant as possible, and who pos- sessed the means of doing so, he had an opportunity of seeing English life in one of its most attractive forms, in one of the most charming parishes. In England, and in May, the most beauti- ful month of the English year.
He remembered while at sea reading one of Browning's lyrics:
"Oh, to be In England,
Now that April's there."
And here he was in one of the very places Browning and Tennyson loved to sing about. It seemed like a beautiful
dream; and when he was shown to his, room that night, overlooking the well-
kept lawn, he almost wondered if he would be there in the morning, or wake up with the hoarse voice of Tommy or one of his shipmate's bellowing in his ear: "Below there! Starboard watch ahoy! Rouse out! All hands on deck! Reef topsals! Now, Jack, 'ole man, its
your turn at the wheel! Look alive there!"
It was nearly dawn before he dropped
into a dreamless sleep. He awoke with the bright sun streaming through his
bedroom window, and at the twitter of
,birds. It was not a dream; he was really in England. It was with almost a pang of regret that he realised that the old days had gone, probably for ever; that he had left his past life be- hind, and entered upon an entirely new stage of existence. As he glanced out of his bedroom window at the beauti-
ful garden beneath, and saw Adele
Wilkinson picking some flowers, he wondered what his future would be.
While he sat at breakfast he re- membered his dream, and asked the Canon if the primroses were still out.
"All gone, I'm sorry to say. Had you
been here last week we could have shown you plenty, but the heavy rain has destroyed them all."
"I'm so sorry," Adele exclaimed. "Mr. 'Grenville would like to have seen Eng- lish primroses growing. I'm afraid your dream won't come true after all," she
added, turning to Jack with a merry
After breakfast they wandered through the Vicarage garden looking for primroses, but with the exception of a few flowers battered and disfigured by wind and rain, they found none. They were about to return to the Vicarage
when Adele's little niece ran up to them
saying: "Looking for primroses,
autie? I know where there's lots"
"Over in the hall garden, under the
wall by the big beeches. I saw them there yesterday."
"Do let us go over," said Adele, turn- ing to her sister-in-law, "and see if any
So they went across to the hall gar- den, which adjoined the Vicarage grounds, and, as little Ruthie had said, there sure enough were quantities of the beautiful flowers that the wall and trees had sheltered from wind and rain. With an exclamation of delight Adele ran forward, and for a few minutes was busy stooping down gathering them. She rose, and with flushed and laughing face turned to Jack and gave him the bunch. "See," she said, "your dream has come true after all."
"It has," he retorted, "in a more r wonderful way than ever I had dared to
Canon Wilkinson listened with great interest to the narrative of Jack's past life, and after a long discussion with him as to his future career wrote to
the Bishop of London. A few days
later there came an invitation to lunch at the Palace. This arrangement was subsequently cancelled, and Jack re- ceived a notice from the Bishop's sec- retary to meet his Lordship at his house in St. James' Square, London, at 11 a.m. on the following Wednesday.
He felt a little nervous when ushered into the Bishop's presence, but the kindly smile and warm handshake with which he was greeted at once set him
at his ease.
"I have been much interested in the story of your life, which I have heard from both Canon Wilkinson and his brother, the late Bishop. They speak very highly of your special qualifica- tions for a naval or military chaplaincy. I understand that you are prepared to
accept such work?"
"I suppose, my lord, some training would first be necessary."
"I think so, in spite of the high quali- fications the late Bishop considered you to possess. The church is in urgent need of men like yourself, who have lived and toiled amongst their fellows; but, of course, a spiritual vocation and educational attainments are necessary also. I would suggest you going to a Theological College, or, if you prefer to do so, studying for a short time un- der a friend of mine at Oxford. I un- derstand that you are anxious to read for your degree. You might be able to complete your course when the war is over. You come from Australia?"'
"Yes, my lord."
"I was greatly disappointed in not being able to go out there a few years ago. You know Sydney? What is It
"Sydney is a modern Corinth," Jack replied. "The open air life; love of sport and pleasure. Its commercial and geographical position have combined to evolve a certain type of life not un- like that which distinguished the people
of ancient Corinth."
"You interest me very much," the Bishop replied. "Some day I may be able to visit your city." Then after a long and friendly chat about Jack's sea and Indian experiences, he gave him a letter to his friend at Oxford, and, kneeling down, the young sailor received his episcopal blessing.
"A TEMPLE BUILT IN MUSIC"
They were standing in Fleet Street, waiting for a motor 'bus.
"Number forty-five," said Adele Wilkinson, "will carry us right past the Abbey, and here it comes; shall we go on top? I can then point out to you some places of interest on our way down."
"Thank you," returned Jack, "just what I was going to suggest. What is that strange looking monument we are passing now?" he enquired, after they had been seated for a few minutes.
"That," replied his companion, "is the Griffin, it used to be the old Temple Bar; now we are coming to Charming Cross; do you see the large marble cross?"
(To be Continued.)