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Title: Lighter Moments from the Notebook of Bishop Walsham How

Author: William Walsham How

Editor: F. D. How

Release date: September 8, 2011 [eBook #37347]
Most recently updated: January 8, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Delphine Lettau, Ross Cooling and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Canada Team at



First Edition, March 1900
Reprinted, April 1900
Reprinted, May 1900











Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
London & Edinburgh


On Christmas Day, 1891, my father presented me with his collection of "Ecclesiastical Jottings," as he called them, having previously had them handsomely bound in red leather. When he put them into my hands he expressed a hope that I should some day make a little book of them. Up to the time of his death he made frequent additions to the collection, and I have now gathered most of his stories together in "a little book," according to his wishes.

To read them is to lose so much; yet that is all that one can do now. Half their humour seems to have gone with the sound of his voice, the merry twinkle of his eye, and his own delight in them.

I cannot help hoping that they may serve to brighten the odd minutes of some other lives spent, as his was, in many labours.

There are some people to whom apologies seem due.

First, to those to whom a large number of these stories are already familiar. May I ask them to realise that the contents of this volume have been so familiar to me that it has been almost impossible for me to know which to throw away as chestnuts?

Secondly, I apologise to those whose appreciation of my father's goodness and piety is so great that they shrink from the contemplation of any other characteristics. To them I would, with great deference, suggest that they are putting on one side a large and important part of my father's character. No man, as I believe, walked more closely with his God, but his influence owed much of its power to the fact that he also walked in closest sympathy with men—sympathy not only with their tears but with their laughter—sympathy which begot, as it generally does, a keen sense of humour.

Thirdly, there are those who, possessing no sense of humour themselves, are fearful lest it should appear derogatory to their stupendous intellects to appreciate that gift in others. I was going to apologise to these also—but, on the whole, I think I won't.

F. D. H.

February 1900.


Bishop Walsham How was the happy possessor of a nature essentially sunny. Deeply pious from his childhood onwards, his piety was neither of that morose, narrow, gloomy description met with among some people, nor was it of that gushing, uncertain, hysterical kind occasionally found among others. He was happy because he was good. His simple joyous life was a song of praise to his Creator, like that of a bright spring day. He rejoiced in the Lord alway. No one who knew him could fail to be struck with this all-pervading note in his character. No matter what the anxiety, no matter what the trouble, he was always ready to turn his face to the Sun and be gladdened by the Light.

A quality on a slightly lower level, but having its own part in helping to sustain his sunniness of disposition, was his keen sense of humour. He never could help seeing the funny side of things. A visit to some dreary and neglected parish in East London would sadden him, but the ready answer of a street boy, or the good story told him by a fellow traveller in train or tram, would not fail to be appreciated, and would give him something cheery to talk about when he got home.

Surely this sense of humour is in some way closely allied with the power of sympathy. This is apparently true in the case of men. Women must be considered from a different point of view, for, while the world would be but a poor place bereft of their sympathy, they have for the most part but little sense of humour. Occasionally one meets with a supposed exception, but even then one is liable to be deceived. It is natural to all women to wish to please, and sometimes an apparently humorous disposition is the result of consummate acting. A lady was staying with a large house party at a country house, and gained a great reputation by her power of telling amusing stories with a vast appreciation of their fun. It was noticed that other people's stories were received by her with remarkable gravity, and seldom called forth her laughter. This was ascribed by some to jealousy, by others to a limited sense of humour. At last the true explanation was forthcoming. An accident revealed the fact that every story she heard was carefully noted, and entered afterwards in a book, with the place and date where it was told. Hence the grave attention with which she listened. It was not the fun that attracted her, but the opportunity of adding to a store of anecdotes from which a selection was carefully rehearsed day by day in her bedroom, to be let off like a number of little set pieces for the amusement of the company and her own glorification.

Bishop Walsham How entered most of the amusing incidents and stories he met with in a notebook, but his sense of humour was very different from that of the lady mentioned above. There was no lack of spontaneity. It was part and parcel of himself, and he would never have been the man he was, or had the influence he possessed, without it.

Although far more men than women seem to have this sense, yet every one must be familiar with some few of those unfortunate people in whom it is lacking. Let a man think of his schooldays. There were masters who understood—who saw the joke underlying a breach of discipline; who punished, indeed, but who did it with a twinkle in the eye which helped to cure the smart. These were the men whom the boys trusted, just because they felt that they were sure of sympathy. But there was probably one at least among the staff, ponderous, dull, and worthy, well-meaning, but a failure simply by reason of an entire lack of the sense of humour. By dint of dogged perseverance he got certain facts into the heads of his class, but he never succeeded in interesting them in their work. He took boys out for a solemn walk, but never gained a confidence. What was the good of talking to him? He never had been a boy: he could not understand.

It is just the same in other professions. The clergyman with pale and heavy features, who sees no fun in anything, may just as well stop at home as go round from house to house with his awkward unsympathetic questions. The children run away from him, their parents are simply bored. The doctor or the lawyer loses touch with his clients when he is unfortunate enough to be set down as a man who cannot see a joke.

In fact, the sense of humour is a real part of the power of conveying a sense of sympathy. The sympathy may be there in the dullest and heaviest of men, but he has not the power of conveying it. One of Bishop Walsham How's great delights was to share with others the amusement he gleaned from day to day, and it was his wish that after his death some of the stories that he collected should be published. Many of them he frequently told, and they have been repeated from mouth to mouth till they are well known, others were perhaps well known when he first heard them. The following selection has been made with the hope of including all the more original anecdotes, and it is hoped that they may have some small share in keeping alive the memory of one whose sense of humour helped to increase his wide-hearted sympathy for his fellow creatures.

Many of the stories told by Bishop Walsham How centre round Whittington, the Shropshire parish of which he was Rector from 1851 to 1879. In the early days of his residence there superstition was exceedingly rife. There is a note by the Bishop to this effect:

The prevalence of superstition in these enlightened days (as we call them: how our great-grandchildren will laugh at us!) is most marvellous. The following are in this parish generally approved and seriously recommended remedies for the whooping-cough, popularly called the "chin-cough": To be swung nine times under a donkey. To pass the patient three times under and over a briar growing from a hedge, saying, "Over the briar and under the briar, and leave the chin-cough behind."[1] Anything recommended by a seventh son. (One woman cured several people, she tells me, by sending them to meet a boatman who is a seventh son, and to ask him what would cure them.) Anything recommended by a man on a piebald horse. (I have been told of cures being thus effected by gin, honey, cold water, and an ounce of tea taken wholly.)

[1] This process I can remember undergoing at the hands of my nurse in the garden of Whittington Rectory.—Ed.

Soon after I came here [Whittington] an old neighbour, Kitty Williams, was ill, and my wife was ill at the same time. In speaking of the latter fact to an old woman who lived at the hamlet of Babies' Wood, she said she hoped we were good to old Kitty, for she had an evil eye and might have caused Mrs. How's illness. She then told me the following story: When Kitty was young she lived in service near Whittington, but was sent away for some misconduct, and after a time married Jonathan Williams and came to live where I knew her. From the time she left her place nothing prospered there. Cows died, horses went lame, and all went wrong. So they consulted a wise woman, who told them to get a pair of black horses with long tails and to drive them about till they stopped of themselves, and then to give the first woman they saw whatever she asked for. They did so; the horses stopped opposite Kitty's cottage close by Whittington Rectory. Kitty came out, and they greeted their old servant and asked what they should give her. She chose a shawl, so they went to Oswestry and bought her one, after which all things prospered with them. This was told me with the seriousness of profound belief.[2]

[2] The following facts may throw some light on the horses stopping at that exact spot. First, they were probably hearse horses; secondly, there is a public-house on the other side of the road.—Ed.

Scarcely less curious were many of the phrases and sayings which he came across in visiting the old inhabitants of the parish. Here are a few which found a place in his notebook:

A woman from whom I was making some inquiry concerning a neighbour answered me, "I really can't tell you, sir, for I've not much confection of cheerfulness with my neighbours."

Another woman, who had been ill, described herself to me as being "as thin as a halfpenny herring."

A poor woman in the parish, speaking to me of the wonders of the heavens, expressed her astonishment at the sun rising in the east, whereas it set in the west. "I suppose," she said, "it gets back in the night when it is dark."

The following words are given verbatim as spoken by an old woman in the parish on the occasion of my first visit soon after I became Rector. "The old man and me never go to bed, sir, without singing the Evening Hymn. Not that I've got any voice left, for I haven't; and as for him, he's like a bee in a bottle; and then he don't humour the tune, for he don't rightly know one tune from another, and he can't remember the words neither; so when he leaves out a word I puts it in, and when I can't sing I dances, and so we gets through it somehow."

Queer letters, too, find a place among the other curiosities of Whittington. Mrs. How received the following remarkable epistle about a poor woman who had been sent to a lady in Oswestry. There is not a stop in the letter from beginning to end:

I am sorry to send to you Ellen Morris which her his heavy afflicted with the favor on the brain which her is not fit to get her living and her did go to Mrs. G—— and I did write a note to go to her and her said if her had a note from a clergyman her would give her 2 6 [two-and-six] what does it matter who write a note for a person when they are in distress people that can write a note and tell the truth which her has got a pair of boots in a shoemaker's shop which her cannot get them out without two shilling and her his very near barefoot and I hope you will bestow your charity this once for my sake and yours what we give to the poor we never shall want which I do give her what I can give her and God will bless us all that will give with a good free willing heart my dear Mrs. How which I hope you will bestow you are a very good to the poor and it his a great charity to give to this poor woman yours truly Mrs. D—— which her does beg her living from one or another and her does do very well considering.

The above is the complete letter, no date, and no other word of any sort. Vicarious begging letters are not unknown to the police of our big towns, but the scribe who could not do better than the above would have small chance of employment. A modern London begging letter is often a work of fine art.

A further note on a curious letter tells how, in December 1875, a good widow in the village received a proposal from a man she had never spoken to, couched in the following terms:

Dear Friend, I am a widower with two little girls, and I want some one to take care of them. I think we could live very comfortably together in this world, & afterwards we could rejoin those we have loved who have gone before. If you accept this, please write & say so on the other side of this sheet. If not, please return this letter, & dont make it public.[3]

[3] Proposal declined.—Ed

The famous and eccentric Jack Mytton lived at Halston, a country house in the parish of Whittington, not very long before Bishop Walsham How went there as Rector. Some of the old servants from that house were still living in the village, and wonderful were the stories that they told. One would relate how he was compelled to go out on a snowy night and crawl over the ice to shoot wild ducks with his master, dressed only in his nightshirt. Another told how, after Jack Mytton's famous roasting match against a professional roaster in Shrewsbury, his master called for him in his carriage on his way home, and drove him up to Halston that he might scrape him where he was burnt. Happily such days were over before 1850, and no doubt the stories of these old servants lost nothing in the telling. One of the last to survive was the subject of the following passage in the notebook:

Mrs. J——, formerly housekeeper at Halston in Mr. Mytton's time, has long been a sufferer from asthma. She lost a sister, and in speaking of arrangements for the funeral told me she had a vault made for four, in which three, including her own husband, had been already buried, and that she wished her sister to have the fourth place. When I said, "Surely, that is meant for yourself," she answered, "No, I never could breathe in a vault. I must have fresh air. She shall have it, and I'll be buried in the open ground, if you please."

While speaking of Halston a good story may find a place concerning the gentleman who owned the property in Bishop Walsham How's time.

One of my curates, in walking down from Frankton, fell in with a man who startled him by saying what a pity it was that the owner of Halston was not a better man. On being asked what he meant, the man said that no good man would do as was being done on that property, and build cottages in pairs or close together. My curate asked why not, and the man said, "Because it is written 'Thou shalt not add house to house'"; and, on my curate explaining the true meaning to him, he repudiated it entirely, and said he had no doubt the thing was condemned in the Bible because next-door neighbours always quarrel.

Here is an account of a curious interview the Rector had with a local stonemason. Probably the spread of education would make such a thing impossible to-day.

A stonemason one day brought a stone to put into the churchyard, with a verse on it in which occurred the line—

Till life's brief span be ended.

I had given no permission for this, and make a rule of refusing to allow poetical effusions upon tombstones. However, the mason had omitted the 's' after "life," so I was able to remonstrate with him, and told him that if he had sent me his epitaph beforehand I could at least have saved him from making ridiculous mistakes. He was quite incredulous, and asked me to point out the mistake. When I did so he put his head on one side, and, after contemplating the stone for some moments, said, "Now I should say, if you were to put an 's' in that line, it would come in better after 'brief.'"

Some anecdotes relating to pastoral visits occur here and there in the notebooks. The following story is interesting as illustrating the fact that it does not always do to trust to first impressions.

I was visiting on his death bed an old man in the village called John Richards, and one day found a very rough-looking fellow sitting by the head of his bed with his hands in his pockets, and his legs stretched out, so I asked him if he was the old man's son, to which he answered with a rough "Yes." I then asked him where he lived, and he answered in the same insolent tone, "Manchester." So, thinking he was not a pleasant specimen of Manchester manners, I took no further notice of him, but read and prayed with his father as if he were not there, he sitting in the same irreverent attitude all the time. Just as I was going he said abruptly, "I'll tell ye something." "Well," I said, "what is it?" "I had a mate once," he said, "down with the small-pox, uncommon bad, black as your hat. 'John,' he says to me, 'fetch me a minister.' So I went for one of these Chapel ministers, and I says to him, 'Come along o' me, I've got a mate bad.' So he came. So when we got to the house, before we went up, I says, 'You don't know what's the matter with him?' and he says, 'No, what is it?' 'Small-pox,' I said, 'as black as your hat.' And what do you think he did?" "I don't know," I said. "Why, run away!" he said, breaking into a loud laugh. I thought this was the end of the story, and that it was meant as a hit at all ministers, but he went on, "I warn't to be done that way, so next I goes for a Church minister, and I says to him, 'Come along o' me, I've got a mate bad.' And he came. Well, when we got to the foot of the stairs I says to him just like t'other one, 'You don't know what's the matter with him?' and he says, 'No, what is it?' So I says again, 'Small-pox as black as your hat.' Well, what do you think this chap did?" "Not run away, I hope," I answered. "No," he shouted in the most defiant way, "No, he walked straight up to the bedside and prayed with him just like you've done with my father." So I found that my rough and defiant friend was all the time paying me a compliment. But it was the most pugnacious bit of friendship I ever encountered.

No one who knew the Bishop and his wide-hearted sympathy would think for a moment that he told this story to contrast the ministers of various denominations. That was not the point. The fun lay in the man's manner. Might it not be fair to suggest that possibly the one minister had been vaccinated while the other was a "conscientious objector" arrived before his time? Here is another story of pastoral visitation:

A woman in a small Welsh farmhouse [Whittington is on the border of Wales] being taken very ill, a neighbour went for the clergyman, who said he would come directly. The neighbour going back to the farmhouse said they had better get out a Bible, as the parson might ask for one. The farmer thereupon told the woman she would find one, he thought, at the bottom of an old chest, "for thank goodness," he added, "we have had no occasion for them sort of books for many a long year—never since the old cow was so bad."

Talking of family Bibles, when Bishop Walsham How was Rector of Whittington he copied the following list from the entries in the family Bible of some people called Turner. The names are those of the twelve children of the family:

1. Turnerina de Margaret.
2. Turnerannah de Mary Elizabeth.
3. Alfred Fitz Cawley de Walker.
4. Bernard de Belton.
5. Cornelius la Compston.
6. Turnerica Henrica Ulrica da Gloria de Lavinia Rebekah.
7. John de Hillgreave.
8. Eignah de George Turner Jones.
9. Fighonghangal o Temardugh Hope de Hindley.
10. Turnwell William ap Owen de Pringle.
11. Turnerietta de Johannah Jane de Faith.
12. Faithful Thomas.

Surely the father who invented these names was a born humorist! It must have been the father, for no mother would have permitted her children to be thus bedizened with absurd appellations if it had not been that her lack of humour failed to see the fun of her husband's gorgeous caricature of the "upper ten."

It has often been said that the power of recognising an object when represented in a picture is not natural but acquired. The following story of one of the "Old Men's Dinners" at Whittington Rectory goes to show that in the early days of photography the rustic population had difficulty in discerning the portraits somewhat dimly shadowed forth on the old-fashioned glass and metal plates.

I always have a dinner of from twenty to thirty of the oldest men of the parish on New Year's day, and on one of these occasions I was displaying to my guests a photograph of two old men who had long worked at the Rectory, and who were taken in their working clothes, one with a spade, and the other holding a little tree as if about to plant it. A very deaf old man, Richard Jones, took it in his hand, and looking at it said, "Beautiful! Beautiful!" So I shouted, "Who are they, Richard?" "Why," he said, "it's Abraham offering up Isaac, to be sure!" I tried to undeceive him, and, as the old men who had been photographed were sitting opposite to him, I said, "You'll see them before you if you will look up." But all I could get was a serene smile, "Yes, yes, I sees 'em before me—by faith."

The Rector of Whittington was blessed with a succession of valuable curates, who for the most part became his close personal friends, and he was also on the most friendly terms with the clergy of the neighbouring parishes. Concerning his curates or his neighbours, he would now and then note an amusing incident, some of which must find a place here while we are dealing with his Whittington career.

When the curacy of Whittington was vacant on one occasion I had an application from a young clergyman who sent me a sermon on Baptism, which he had preached in his last parish, thinking that I should like to see what his doctrine was. However, his opinion on every controverted point was studiously concealed. I have, nevertheless, preserved one passage, the doctrine of which is interesting. It ran as follows: "In the East baptism was frequently practised by immersion, but in a cold climate like ours, where we apply water only to the face and hands, such a practice would be injurious to the health."

A very shy, nervous curate of mine had to take the service alone here one Sunday morning soon after his ordination. There were banns of marriage for two couples to give out, the first being for the third time of asking, and the second for the first. After reading out the four names he paused, turned very red, and astounded the congregation by adding, "The first are last and the last first."

When the house, in which a curate of mine lodged, changed hands, the new landlady agreed to pay the old one £10 for the curate. He complained to us that, having been paid for, he could not leave, however uncomfortable he might be. Shortly afterwards the new landlady told him that she had not paid the £10 and could not do so, so he paid it for her, thus paying his own valuation!

A neighbour of mine, a clergyman, who had a great dislike of discouraging little children, was one day examining a class, and asked how many sons Noah had. "Four," a little girl answered. "Ah! yes," he said, "perhaps, but one died young." He next asked what their names were. "Adam," suggested a small child. "Yes, my child," he said, "that would doubtless be the one that died young."

An Irish curate in Oswestry quoted in his sermon "the deaf adder that stoppeth her ears," and, being suddenly struck with the physical difficulties of the process, he paused a moment, and then proceeded. "How does she stop her ears? I suppose, my friends, she must clap one ear on the ground and stick her tail in the other." Curiously enough I see that Brunetto Latini, in his "Booke of Beastes," relates this as a fact in natural history. Latini was contemporary with Dante, and a great naturalist, but of the inventive sort.

The following story will be recognised by many, in spite of the absence of names. When we were children it was one of our greatest treats to be taken to see the clergyman in question, who was very kind to us and used to ask us to play drums and other instruments in his quaint sitting-room. The occasions of his visits to our house were also much looked forward to, as he was sure to do something original. He once came to a dinner party and brought two or three musical-boxes which he set off, all playing different tunes at the same time, during dinner. This is the story that occurs in the notebook:

The first time that Archdeacon Wickham visited this deanery as archdeacon I drove him to a parsonage where the incumbent insisted upon his inspecting everything. In the garden is a little pond, and over this pond we beheld a strange erection of posts and planks, with a sort of saddle-like seat on the top. On the Archdeacon asking the incumbent what it was, he explained with great delight that it was a capital contrivance by which you could take exercise and make yourself useful by pumping water up to the church, where he had just been building a transept. So, saying that he would show us, he clambered up, sat down on the saddle smiling, and began to work the treadles eagerly. Unfortunately, however, the work at the church having been just finished, the pipe which had conveyed the water to the workmen had been cut off just above the surface of the water. The consequence was that he immediately produced a jet of water which shot straight upwards and almost lifted him off his seat, entirely upsetting the archidiaconal gravity. As we returned to the house the incumbent begged the Archdeacon to go into the back yard and smell the pump, which, he said, stank horribly. The Archdeacon protested that he had no authority over pumps, but he would take no denial, and when he got into the backyard he said, "Now, Mr. Archdeacon, if you will put your nose to the spout, I will pump." The Archdeacon was, however, quite equal to the occasion, and said, "No, I depute the Rural Dean to put his nose to the spout, and I will receive his report, and, if needed, pronounce an ecclesiastical censure."

Bishop Walsham How's love of botany took him frequently into the wilder and more mountainous parts of the neighbourhood, and in the course of these expeditions he made friends with the gentleman, since dead, of whom he tells the following story:

The Vicar of the little parish of Criggion, under the Breidden hills, asked me once to come there for a certain All Saints' Day, when he was going to have a meeting of choirs. I could not go, but seeing him a little while afterwards, I asked him how the choral festival had gone off. "Oh! very well," he said. "And how many choirs had you?" I asked "Oh, well, only two," he said; "L——'s from over the hill and my own." "And how many voices had you?" I next asked. "You should not be so inquisitive," he said, "but to tell the truth, there were only his Buttons and my own little maid!"

Before he went to Whittington, he had some experience of another quaint character among Shropshire clergymen, as is related in the following passage taken from the notebook:

Mr. C—— was curate of a parish near Shrewsbury when I was curate of Holy Cross and St. Giles' in that town. He was very eccentric in all his ways. Among other peculiarities he, though very High Church in views, adopted a very secular style of dress. Archdeacon Allen undertook on one occasion to speak to him on the subject, and at a Visitation very kindly and pleasantly remarked that his dress was not quite what was usual on such occasions. Whereupon Mr. C——, taking hold of the Archdeacon's coat, said, "Well, Mr. Archdeacon, you know this is not quite the correct thing: I believe it is an old coat made to do!" The Archdeacon could not resist a good laugh, and acknowledged that he was quite right in his supposition.

One day my good fellow curate, the Rev. F. P. Johnson, was walking along the road when he saw Mr. C—— approaching, a gaunt figure with long strides, in a striped waistcoat and blue muffetees, intoning at the top of his voice the prayer for the Queen's most excellent Majesty. He slackened pace, finished the prayer, duly sang the Amen, and then shook hands with a hearty "How do you do, old fellow?" On Johnson expressing astonishment at the performance, he said he was only saying Matins as in duty bound, and, since his rector would not have it in church and he had no time in his lodgings in Shrewsbury, he always said it as he came back from visiting the school in the morning. "If you had been a minute or two sooner," he added, "you would just have come in for the anthem. You know 'in choirs and places where they sing, here followeth the anthem.'" "And what anthem did you have to-day?" asked Johnson. "Oh," he replied, "I always have the same, for I only know one. When I come to that place I always sing 'God save the Queen.'"

Another time Mr. C—— was spending a day with Mr. Peake, then curate of Ellesmere. At noon he went up to his room, and Mr. Peake heard him whistling very strangely on one note. He went up, knocked at his door, and asked him what he was doing. "Oh nothing," said Mr. C——. "But what are you whistling in that queer way for?" said Mr. Peake. "Oh, well, if you must know," he answered, "I was saying my prayers." "Saying your prayers!" said Mr. Peake, "why, you were whistling!" "Yes, I know," said Mr. C——; "the fact is your maid was cleaning your room next to mine, and I thought she would think it odd perhaps if I intoned my sexts, as I generally do, so I thought I would whistle them to-day."

Several stories occur in connection with Oswestry, which was the market town for Whittington.

Extract from a sermon preached by a curate of Oswestry upon the scene between St. Paul and St. Peter at Antioch. The words were taken down at the time [N.B.—Hibernice legendum]: "So Paul seized the banner of the Gospel out of the hands of poor, weak, compromising Peter, and waved it in a flood of light and liberty over the head of the Galatian Church."


A certain Calvinistic curate of Oswestry met a neighbour who had unhappily seceded to Rome, and thus described the interview to his vicar. "I met —— yesterday, and said to him, 'Not a day of my life passes that I do not pray for you.' And what do you think he said? Why, 'And not a day of my life passes that I do not pray for you.' The impudence of the fellow!"

Here is another:

A certain clergyman of this diocese, risen from the ranks, was preaching at Trinity Church, Oswestry, and found in the course of the service that he had forgotten his pocket-handkerchief. As he felt he should require one during the sermon, the weather being very warm, he asked a lady in a pew close to the pulpit, as he went up, to lend him hers, which he duly returned as he went down again!

Whittington being on the borders of Wales, Dissent was extremely prevalent, and the Church's action towards Dissenters was a burning subject. Hence the following story:

At a clerical meeting soon after I came into these parts the subject discussed was, "How to treat Dissenters." After most of those present had spoken, a neighbouring rector said, "I make it a principle never to speak to Dissenters about religious matters. But I have a very good garden with a southern slope, and I send them baskets of early vegetables, and by this means I have brought several over to the Church."

Next come two stories from the same neighbourhood of Oswestry, but of a more unclerical nature:

A relation of Sir Watkin Wynn was one day hunting with those hounds when his horse stumbled in a lane and fell with him. Whereupon Simpson, at that time Sir Watkin's second horseman, jumped off to help him, and thinking him dangerously hurt tried to comfort him with a text of Scripture, saying, "Ah, sir! naked we came out of our mother's womb and naked we shall return thither!"

Dr. B——, of Oswestry, has three horses which he has named "High Church," "Low Church," and "Broad Church." The reason he gives is that the first is always on his knees, the second never, and as for the third you never know what he will do next.

This last story leads on naturally to a number of good things on the subject of Ritualism. A High Churchman was practically an unknown quantity in those parts when Bishop Walsham How first went to be Rector of Whittington in 1851. The smallest innovation or improvement in a service, such as are generally accepted nowadays in Evangelical Churches, raised a storm of protest, and the ignorance displayed by newspapers as well as by private individuals is almost past belief in these days when we have been satiated with articles and correspondence on "advanced practices." For instance:

A Wellington paper, commenting severely on the supposed ritualistic practices at Welsh Hampton, spoke of the Vicar as "practising the most unblushing celibacy."

The same paper describing an evening service at St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, spoke of the vicar as walking in procession with his curate from the vestry and then entering the desk and beginning the evening service, "or, as, borrowing the language of these gentlemen, we ought more correctly to say, evening matins."

A short time ago the Reverend James Hook, Vicar of Morton, was coming to see me by train. There were several women in the carriage, and one of them began to talk to the others about Whittington, asking them if they knew what shocking things were done in the church there. She then said she once went into Whittington Church and saw the host on the altar. There were great exclamations of horror, when Mr. Hook quietly looked up from his paper and said, "I beg your pardon, what did you see?" "The host on the altar, sir," she said. "Oh, and what was it like?" She hesitated and said she could not exactly describe it. He told her not to mind about being very exact, but would she tell him what sort of a thing it was? She then said she did not notice very carefully. So he then said he would tell her what it meant, and having done so, he told her how wicked it was to invent such stories. She was then frightened, and said with some alarm, "Well, sir, I am certain I saw two rows of candlesticks down the two sides of the church."

An advertisement copied from the Liverpool Courier, January 1874. [N.B.—This refers to a prosecution of Mr. Parnell, of St. Margaret's, for ritualistic practices.] "Parnell Prosecution.—A gentleman who intends subscribing £10 to the St. Margaret's Defence Fund is desirous to pair with gentleman about to subscribe the same sum towards the prosecution, in order to save the pockets of both. Address C. I., Courier Office."

A clergyman going into a very advanced church could not make out what they were doing, and said he tried various parts of the Prayer-book in vain, and at last bethought him of "Prayers for those at sea." But this, too, failed, so he gave up trying.

A clergyman going to see a parish offered him, was shown it by a farmer churchwarden, who in the course of conversation said, "Are there many Puseyites, sir, where you come from?" He answered, "Not many; are there many here?" Farmer: "There used to be, but they are getting scarce now." "How do you account for that?" Farmer: "Well, sir, the boys have taken the eggs." This curious reason was explained when it turned out that the farmer meant "peewits."

A lady friend of mine the other day wrote to say that their clergyman was accused of ritualistic tendencies. She could not herself discover them, but she said he certainly had something on the back of his neck which to her looked like a button, but which she was credibly informed was really the thin end of the wedge.

As may be supposed a large number of the stories in Bishop Walsham How's note-book refer to curious incidents and awkward situations during divine service. The following are a selection of anecdotes of this class, and are in almost every case authentic.

My grandfather, the Reverend Peter How, was Rector of Workington, in Cumberland, where there was (and is untouched to this day, 1878!) a large "three-decker" clerk's desk, reading-desk, and pulpit, one on top of the other, blocking up the centre of the church and, of course, all facing west. My grandfather was reading the prayers one Sunday, when his large black dog came into church and found him out, so he opened the door, to which is attached a small flight of steps, and the dog came in and lay down under the seat, unseen by the congregation, who were deeply ensconced in the high square pews, and at last was forgotten by his master. In due time the latter went to the vestry, put on his black gown, and ascended the pulpit, when, soon after beginning his sermon, he became aware that the people were all convulsed with laughter, and looking down over the pulpit cushion he saw his dog with its hind legs on the seat and its forefeet on the cushion of the reading-desk gravely regarding the congregation.

Another story of the Bishop's grandfather follows:

My grandfather was once baptizing a small collier boy of three or four years old at Workington. Other children having been first baptized, he proceeded to baptize this boy also, but when he put the water on his forehead the boy turned upon him fiercely, saying, "What did you do that for, ye great black dog? I did nothing to you!"

Workington was also the scene of an awkward situation in which, when a very young man, the Bishop found himself.

When I was a deacon, and naturally shy, I was visiting my aunts in Workington, where my grandfather had been Rector, and was asked to preach on Sunday evening in St. John's, a wretched modern church—a plain oblong with galleries, and a pulpit like a very tall wineglass, with a very narrow little straight staircase leading up to it, in the middle of the east part of the church. When the hymn before the sermon was given out I went as usual to the vestry to put on the black gown. Not knowing that the clergyman generally stayed there till the end of the hymn, I emerged as soon as I had thus vested myself and walked to the pulpit and ascended the stairs. When nearly at the summit, to my horror I discovered a very fat beadle in the pulpit lighting the candles. We could not possibly pass on the stairs, and the eyes of the whole congregation were upon me. It would be ignominious to retreat. So after a few minutes' reflection I saw my way out of the difficulty, which I overcame by a very simple mechanical contrivance. I entered the pulpit, which exactly fitted the beadle and myself, and then face to face we executed a rotatory movement to the extent of a semi-circle, when the beadle finding himself next the door of the pulpit was enabled to descend, and I remained master of the situation.

When curate at Kidderminster, I had on one occasion to baptize nine children at once. The ninth was a boy of nearly two years of age, and was taken up and put into my arms. This he stoutly resisted, beginning immediately to kick with all his might. His clothes being very loose and very short, he very soon kicked himself all but out of them, but I had got him fast by his clothes and his head, and was repeating the words of reception into the Church with as much gravity as I could command, when his mother, possessing a strong maternal appreciation of the fair proportions of her lively offspring and a relatively weak appreciation of the solemnity of the occasion, remarked aloud to me, with a gratified smile, "He's a nice little lump, sir, isn't he?"

The Earl of Powis, among his many acts of generous kindness, has given substantial aid to the Rev. C. F. Lowder's very poor district of St. Peter's, London Docks. He went to the laying of the stone of the church there, and just as the ceremony was about to begin a bottle was handed by some one to Mr. Lowder. He could not make it out, and consulted Lord Powis, who at last ingeniously suggested that, as it looked like oil, it was probably intended for the anointing of the stone. So they agreed to pour it quietly on the stone then and there. The smell that arose was dreadful, but the service began, and very few had noticed the bottle. In the evening an old woman, a former parishioner, came up to Mr. Lowder, and asked after his rheumatism, and said she hoped he got the bottle. On his saying, "Oh, yes, it reached me quite safely," she explained that it was a wonderful cure for rheumatism, which she had manufactured herself.

If an ingenious way was on this occasion found out of a difficulty, what about the next?

When Archbishop Longley was Bishop of Durham, he was one day obliged to absent himself from the prayers in his chapel, and asked an old clergyman who happened to be there to read the prayers. It happened that the first lesson was Judges V., and in reading verse 17 the poor old clergyman, mindful of the presence of Mrs. and the Miss Longleys, modestly altered the last word and read, "Asher continued on the sea-shore, and abode in his garments." This was told me by a daughter of Archbishop Longley.

A former vicar of Newbiggin received a message one Sunday morning from a neighbouring clergyman, who had been taken ill, to ask if he could provide for his duty. So he sent to his curate (my brother-in-law) to tell him he should not be at church that morning, ordered his carriage, and put an old sermon, which he had no time to look at, in his pocket. When he began to preach he soon found out that the sermon was one which he had preached on bidding farewell to his first curacy. For a page or two he tried to omit the more pointed allusions to the occasion of its previous use (which must have been many years before), but, to quote his own account, "I soon found that wouldn't do, as it was all about it, so I spoke boldly of the close of my twelve years' ministry among them, and I do assure you, sir, I left many of the congregation in tears."

A somewhat similar story comes a little later in the book, but must be placed here:

A shy, nervous clergyman near Bradford was about to help a friend by reading the prayers when a message came to say that a neighbouring incumbent was taken ill and to ask for help. The rector could not go, so the friend had to be sent, but, having no sermon with him, he borrowed one from the rector, who wrote a clear good hand. He selected one well written, of which the subject was "the value of time," and meant to read it over on the way, but eventually did not like to do so as he sat beside a servant who drove him over. So it happened that he had to read it for the first time in the pulpit. He got on very well till he came to a sentence saying that, as the parish possessed no church clock, it was his intention to present one. He was too nervous to omit the sentence, and (I was assured at Bradford) did actually present the promised clock, which cost £70.

Here is another authentic sermon story:

While an undergraduate at Oxford I went with some friends to hear a somewhat noted Evangelical preacher preach for the Church Missionary Society at St. Peter's Church. He was exceedingly affected and bombastic, and, having tickled us undergraduates a good deal by his manner, at last produced a complete explosion by involving himself in a hopeless difficulty by a metaphor after this fashion: "When I contemplate the great human family I am often reminded of some mighty river. See how it draws its tribute of many waters from many a distant land, many a mountain range, and many a wide moor-land, sending their ever-growing streams to swell the noble river as it pursues its way down the valley, till all these various tributaries converging into one great volume, it pours its glorious flood into the bosom of the boundless ocean! Such, my brethren, is the race of man." Here the preacher paused, and it was quite obvious to every one that he saw that his metaphor was just the wrong way up! So he coughed and hemmed, and changed the subject.

At Uffington, near Shrewsbury, during the incumbency of the Rev. J. Hopkins, the choir and organist, having been dissatisfied with some arrangement, determined not to take part in the service. So when the clerk, according to the usual custom of those days, gave out the hymn, there was dead silence. This lasted a little while, and then the clerk, unable to bear it, rose up and appealed to the congregation, saying most imploringly, "Them as can sing do ye sing: it's misery to be a this'n" (Shropshire for "in this way").

Canon B—— was on a voyage to Egypt in a Cunard steamer, and on Sunday, in the Bay of Biscay, he undertook to hold a service. He read one of the sentences, and said "Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in sundry places," when he had to bolt and collapse. He told me he thought this a record service for brevity.

At St. Saviour's, Hoxton, the daily prayer is held in the south chancel aisle. The Vicar, the Rev. John Oakley, having to go out, left the evening service at 8.30 to a curate, but, returning home at 8.50, thought he would step in to the west end of the church and be in time for the end of the service. When he went in, to his dismay he saw a few women kneeling in the accustomed place but no clergyman. Concluding that the curate had forgotten, he rapidly passed up the north aisle to the vestry, slipped on a surplice, went across to the south side and read the service. He afterwards found that the curate had already done so, but, being in a hurry, had somewhat shortened it, and had left the church a minute before he (Mr. O.) arrived. The good women who always knelt some time at the close of the service thus did double duty that evening.

At Kensington parish church one of the curates asked for the prayers of the congregation for "a family crossing the Atlantic, and other sick persons."

At Wolstanton in the Potteries there was a somewhat fussy verger called Oakes. On one occasion just at the time of year when it was doubtful whether lights would be wanted or no, and when they had not yet been lighted for evening service, a stranger, who was a very smart young clergyman, was reading the lessons and had some difficulty in seeing. He had on a pair of delicate lavender kid gloves. The verger, perceiving his difficulty, went to the vestry, got two candles, lighted them, and walked to the lectern, before which he stood solemnly holding the candles (without candlesticks) in his hands. This was sufficiently trying to the congregation, but suddenly some one rattled the latch of the west door, when Oakes, feeling that it was absolutely necessary to go and see what was the matter, thrust the two candles into the poor young clergyman's delicately gloved hands, and left him!

A clergyman in a church in Lancashire gave out as his text, "The devil as a roaring lion goeth about seeking whom he may devour," and then added, "The Bishop of Manchester has announced his intention of visiting all the parishes in the diocese, and hopes to visit this parish on such a date."

A former young curate of Stoke being very anxious to do things rubrically, insisted on the ring being put on the "fourth finger" at a wedding he took. The woman resisted and said, "I would rather die than be married on my little finger." The curate said, "But the rubric says so," whereupon the deus ex machinâ appeared in the shape of the parish clerk, who stepped forward and said, "In these cases, sir, the thoomb counts as a digit."

The rector of Thornhill near Dewsbury, on one occasion could not get the woman to say, "obey," in the marriage service, and he repeated the word with a strong stress on each syllable, saying, "You must say, O-bey." Whereupon the man interfered and said, "Never mind; go on, parson. I'll mak' her say 'O' by-and-by."

At the church of Strathfieldsaye, where the Duke of Wellington was a regular attendant, a stranger was preaching, and the verger when he ended came up the stairs, opened the pulpit door a little way, slammed it to, and then opened it wide for the preacher to go out. He asked in the vestry why he had shut the door again while opening it, and the verger said, "We always do that sir, to wake the duke."

Mr. Ibbetson, of St. Michael's, Walthamstow, was marrying a couple when the ring was found to be too tight. A voice from behind exclaimed, "Suck your finger, you fool."

Two or three stories about vergers naturally find a place here. Possibly some of them are well known, but, even so, they will bear repetition.

A gentleman going to see a ritualistic church in London was walking into the chancel when an official stepped forward and said, "You mustn't go in there." "Why not?" said the gentleman. "I'm put here to stop you," said the man. "Oh! I see," said the gentleman, "you're what they call the rude screen, aren't you?"

A clergyman in the diocese of Wakefield told me that when he first came to the parish he found things in a very neglected state, and among other changes he introduced an early celebration of the Holy Communion. An old clerk collected the offertory, and when he brought it up to the clergyman he said, "There's eight on 'em, but two 'asn't paid."

A verger was showing a lady over a church when she asked him if the vicar was a married man. "No, ma'am," he answered, "he's a chalybeate."

A verger showing a large church to a stranger, pointed out another man and said, "That is the other verger." The gentleman said, "I did not know there were two of you," and the verger replied, "Oh yes, sir, he werges up one side of the church and I werges up the other."

Two little stories connected with Bishop Walsham How's episcopal life may well conclude the anecdotes about vergers. The Bishop's dislike of ostentation was well known. He caused much amusement on one occasion when living in London, by frustrating the designs of a pompous verger. It had been this man's custom to meet the Bishop at the door of the church, and precede him up the centre aisle en route for the vestry, thus making a little extra procession of his own. One day the Bishop, after handing this verger his bag, let him go on his way up the centre of the church, and himself slipped off up a side aisle, and gained the vestry unobserved, while the verger marched up in a solemn procession of one!

The other story occurs in the note-book, and runs as follows:

On my first visit to Almondbury to preach, the verger came to me in the vestry, and said, "A've put a platform in t' pulpit for ye; you'll excuse me, but a little man looks as if he was in a toob." (N.B. To prevent undue inferences I am five feet nine inches in height.)

Bishop Walsham How's love of children was well known, and it is not surprising to find a large number of stories about them in his note-book. These stories are mainly of two kinds, those relating to answers made in Sunday school, &c., and those of a more general nature.

Some examples of the latter follow, but it must be borne in mind that these stories have, many of them, become well known owing to the Bishop's fondness of telling them. If he was not able to enjoy children's society, the next best thing was to talk about them.

A very little girl, when taken to church, always knelt down reverently to say a short prayer when she went in. Her mother, not having taught her any prayer to say at that time, asked her to tell her what she said. The child answered that she always prayed that there might be no Litany.

A little boy had a German nursery governess, and told her he thought she ought to learn Hebrew. On her saying she didn't see the use of that, he explained that it was that she might say her prayers properly, for he was sure God knew Hebrew, but he didn't think He could be expected to understand German.

A child being taken to the seaside for the first time, was asked how she liked it, and in answer said it was very beautiful, but she didn't see "all the tinnimies," an expectation due to her private version of the Fourth Commandment.

I recollect, when a child, being exceedingly interested and affected by a story which used to be read to me from a small periodical—I think it was called the Magazine for the Young—about two boys who went to school. Their names were Master Cruelty and Master Innocent Sweetlove, the former taking with him to school a bow and arrow, and the latter a dove in a cage and a lute. The natural result followed, Master Cruelty shooting Master Innocent Sweetlove's dove, and the latter thereupon taking his lute into the churchyard, and, seated on a tombstone, solacing his grief with mournful music. This seemed to me very beautiful!

One of the children of the Vicar of St. Peter's, Eaton Square, told his father he thought some of the things they collected for in church were very silly. He could not think why they should have a collection for the Bishop of London's fun.

Archdeacon Denison told me that his brother, when a boy, among many bits of mischief did the following: His father was very fond of pictures, and had one of the death of Isaac in which the patriarch appeared lying on a couch in a splendid crimson damask tent supported by four Corinthian pillars, with a beautiful white damask table-cloth spread on the table before him. Through the tent door you saw Esau running after a stag while Jacob was bringing in the savoury meat. The offender one day carefully painted on the corner of the table-cloth "Isaac 6."

A boy being asked whether he always said his prayers, said, "Yes, always at night." He was then asked, "And why not in the morning?" To which he answered, "Because a strong boy of nine, like me, ought to be able to take care of himself in the daytime."

Two little boys, grandchildren of a former vicar of Great Yarmouth, were looking at some pictures in a copy of "Bunyan's Holy War," and found one of the devil chained. One of them asked his mother whether the devil was chained, and, being told "no," asked whether he ever would be. To this she answered, "Yes, some day." The boy replied, "When he is, need we say our prayers?"

The Bishop had a niece who is head-mistress of the Godolphin High School at Salisbury, and the following story was told him by her.

A child at the school asked if there were any saints now. The mistress replied that she hoped there were many, on which the child said, "Then, I suppose they've left off wearing those hats," by which she meant the nimbus.

The next story is told of a little great-niece of the Bishop called Molly.

Little Molly, aged four, after saying her prayers one evening to her aunt, remarked, "There's no one to make you say your prayers as you make me." "No," her aunt said, "we don't want any one to make us, for we like saying our prayers." "Do you?" said Molly, "Then I wish you'd ask God not to let my goloshes fall off so often."

A little girl unused to surpliced choirs, on seeing such a choir enter the church, whispered in dismay to her mother, "They're not all going to preach, are they?"

The Bishop was chairman of the Committee of the Society for providing Homes for Waifs and Strays, and in connection with this work told the following story:

Some children kept some hens, and were allowed to sell the eggs for the "Waifs and Strays." One Sunday morning they brought nine eggs in to their father and mother, and said, "We did give it out to the hens that there would be a collection to-day."

The annual children's parties which the Bishop delighted to give were great events, and the following incident which occurred at one of them must find a place here:

At a children's party given by me shortly after the death of Archbishop Thompson we had a Punch and Judy to amuse the children. The man who showed it came up to my son before the performance and said that he had heard that I had been at the Archbishop's funeral, and perhaps I should prefer his leaving out the coffin scene!

Here are some odd notions about the unseen world which were developed in the brains of some of the Bishop's little friends:

Little Rupert B——, aged just three, one day when it was raining, said to his father that he did not think heaven could be a nice place to live in. "Why not?" asked his father. "Because," he answered, "the floor is all full of holes and lets the water through." Before he was three a little baby sister was born, and he was taken into his mother's room to see her. "Where did it come from?" he asked. His mother said, "God sent it us." "Then," said Rupert, "I suppose it is a sort of an angel." His mother explained that it was only a baby. "Hasn't it got any wings?" he asked, and on being told "No," added, "Hasn't it got any feathers at all?"

A little boy, hearing the hymn read which says,

"Satan trembles when he sees
The feeblest saint upon his knees,"

asked, "Why does Satan let the saint sit on his knees if it makes him tremble?"

A little girl who had been taking raspberries in the garden was talked to by her mother, and told to resist the temptation. She afterwards appeared with evident signs of having been again among the raspberries, and, when her mother asked her how it was that she had not resisted the temptation, she said that when she was looking at the raspberries she did say "Get thee behind me, Satan," and he got behind her and pushed her in.

A very little girl was asked, "Who made you?" She answered very reverently, "God," and then, looking shocked, whispered, "Nurse says He made me naked."

On my visit to Illingworth to consecrate a new chancel in 1889, the churchwarden gave a luncheon party, and his little boy, aged nine, told my chaplain that he wanted to go to church to be confirmed. The chaplain told him it was not a confirmation but a consecration, whereupon the small boy said he didn't care which it was so long as he was done.

A little cousin of mine when very small was asked who was the first man, to which he promptly answered "Adam." He was next asked who was the first woman, when he thought a little, and then hesitatingly suggested "Madam."

Bishop Knight Bruce's little boy accounted for the number of fleas in South Africa by saying, "God made lots and lots of people, so you see He had to make lots and lots of fleas."

A little girl, known to Mr. Edward Clifford, hearing much of the praise of stylishness, once prayed, "O Lord, make me stylish."

When the Bishop was rector of Whittington he was a most diligent teacher in the village school, going there from nine to ten almost every morning. He was also for some years a diocesan inspector of schools. He was, therefore, keenly alive to the numberless mistakes and misapprehensions of children, and recorded in his note-book a large number of absurd answers which he either heard himself or of which he was told by friends. A selection of these is given here.

In examining the schools of the deanery of Oswestry I once visited Selattyn school, and set four questions for the senior class to answer in writing. They were, (1) "What do you know about Tarsus?" (2) "Why did St. Paul go to Damascus?" (3) "What is the meaning of Asia in the New Testament?" (4) "What happened at Lystra?" The following is a copy of one paper sent in:

John Jones, 12 last birthday, a teacher in Selattyn. Tarsus was a man which could not walked from his mother womb and he used to go to the temple every day and St. Paul heal him St. Paul said to tartus I say unto thee arise so Tarsus sat up and leap and walked.

St. Paul went to Damascus to preach to the Gentiles. Asia means the place where they ended when they started from Antiock to Asia.

It happened at Lystra that the two seas met and the soldiers cut the ropes.

The Vicar of King Cross, Halifax, asked a class of boys what was the difference between a priest and a deacon, and one boy said the deacon only wore that thing over one shoulder. The Vicar asked why he did so, and after some hesitation another boy answered, "Because he hasn't put both shoulders to the wheel."

At Almondbury in 1897 a class of boys were asked the meaning of an Archangel, and one boy suggested "One of the angels that came out of the Ark."

The Rev. T. F. Dale, when in India teaching in his school, asked the boys what is the meaning of faith. A European boy answered, "When you believe something you are quite sure isn't true."

A lady was explaining to a class the passage "Not with eye-service as men-pleasers," and asked the children if they knew what eye-service meant. One girl suggested, "service in 'igh families."

Mr. B—— of Stamford, in a Teachers' Meeting, urged his Sunday School teachers not to take it for granted that their scholars knew the meaning of words, and illustrated his caution by the word "Epiphany," telling them that they should always explain that it meant "manifestation." Shortly afterwards the diocesan inspector was examining the day school and accidentally asked what "Epiphany" meant. One little girl said, "A railway porter, sir." The inspector asking what made her think that. She said her teacher had told her it meant the "man at the station."

A lady being anxious to teach a new little kitchen-maid something of the Bible, rightly thought she must find out what she knew. So she asked her if she knew about our Lord, and she said "No." So she thought she must begin at the very beginning, and told the girl she would read to her about God making the world. The girl sat perfectly stolid and unintelligent till they came to the serpent tempting Eve, when she suddenly exclaimed, "I remember summat about that snike." This was her summa theologiæ.

A child in a school was asked what he knew about Solomon, and said, "He was very fond of animals." Being asked what made him think so, he said, "Because he had three hundred porcupines."

Here is a very up-to-date little story: did it happen in Leicester?

Teacher: "Why did they hide Moses in the bulrushes?"

Answer: "Because they didn't want him to be vaccinated."

My cousin, Mr. G. F. King, teaching a class of little London boys one Sunday, was questioning them about the parable of the Good Samaritan, and asked them what it was that the man "fell among." He tried to get them to remember by saying that it was a dangerous road to travel along, when one little boy held up his hand. My cousin said, "Well, what did he fall among?" and the little boy replied, "Buses."

An anachronism:

The Duke of York lately visited Leeds, and there were large crowds in the streets. Shortly afterwards one of the clergy was questioning some little children about the birth of our Lord, and asked, "How came there to be so many people at Bethlehem at that time?" One of the children replied, "Please, sir, the Duke of York was there."

At Denbigh a girl at Howell's school was reading St. Matt. v. 41 to the rector of Henllan, and gave it thus: "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him by train."

Mr. Castley, curate of Marsden, questioning the children in the school as to the history of St. Stephen, asked what it was of which he was accused before the Council. A boy replied, "Looking after the widows."

When the diocesan inspector was examining the Cathedral Schools, Wakefield, in 1895, he asked the children what Moses said when God told him to go and speak to Pharaoh. One child answered, "Our Aaron would do it better."

The next story was an experience of the Bishop's own when he was rector of Whittington:

I once set a class of girls in our school to write the life of Solomon. When I looked over the exercises I found one girl began, "Solomon slept with his fathers," and went on after that with his history. On questioning her I found she thought it meant that Solomon when a child slept in his father's bed.

Another girl at the same time brought me a new and wonderful judgment of Solomon in the following words: "The Queen of Sheba was as wise a woman as Solomon was a man. She brought a hundred children, fifty boys and fifty girls, to Solomon, all dressed the same, to see if he could tell which was which. So Solomon commanded water to be brought and bade them wash; whereupon the girls washed up to their elbows, but the boys only washed up to their wrists. So Solomon knew which was boys and which was girls."

The headmaster of the Wakefield Grammar School in an examination-paper on general knowledge asked, "Who was John Wesley?" One boy answered as follows: "John Wesley invented Methodist chapels, and afterwards became Duke of Wellington."

My daughter was teaching a class of boys at Upper Clapton just before the boat race, when she saw one of the boys tear a page out of his Bible, crumple it up, and throw it away. She said, "What are you doing?" to which the boy replied quite demurely, "I'm for Oxford, and this Bible was printed at Cambridge, and I'm not going to use a Bible with Cambridge in it."

The Vicar of St. Augustine's, South Hackney, turned a boy out of his class one Sunday for misbehaviour. Next Sunday the boy appeared again in his class, when the vicar said, "Wasn't it you I put out last Sunday?" The boy at once replied, "No, sir, I think it was the gas."

A boy in an examination, being asked to give an account of the Sadducees and Publicans, wrote, "The Sadducees did not believe in spirits, but the Publicans did."

Here follows another story which, in common with the last two or three, was noted by the Bishop during the time of his suffragan-episcopate for East London.

The diocesan inspector was examining a very young class in the St. Mary Axe Ward School, and asked, "What became of Adam and Eve when they were turned out of the Garden of Eden?" To which a little girl answered, "They went to the workhouse, sir."

In a school examination the question was set, "Explain the meaning of a Bishop, Priest, and Deacon." One boy answered, "I never saw a Bishop, so I don't know. A Priest is a man in the Old Testament. A Deacon is a thing you pile up on the top of a hill, and set fire to it."

A boy, being asked for the derivation of Pontifex, said, "It is derived from pons a bridge, and means the Chief Priest, just as we say Archbishop."

Some children in an Irish school were asked the meaning of "He that exalteth himself shall be abased," when one of them replied, "Turned into horses or cows."

A Confirmation having been held in a Yorkshire village, some children were seen very busy in the road making a church with mud. A passer-by asked them where the bishop was, and they said they hadn't got mook enough to mak' a beeshop.

A boy in Christ Church, Albany Street, School when asked, "What are the Ember weeks?" answered, "The weeks when we pray for the young gentlemen who are afraid of not passing their examination."

Prizes have for several years been offered for the best essays by children on subjects set the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In 1893, in answer to the question, "What passages in Holy Scripture bear upon cruelty to animals?" one boy said, "Cruel people often cut dogs' tails and ears, but the Bible says, 'Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.'" Another boy, in reply to the question, "Why should you be kind to animals?" said, "If you are very kind to a dog he will follow you to the grave at your funeral."

The next two stories are not of exactly the same nature, but so closely relate to the subject of children and schools that they may be fittingly inserted here.

I met an officer once who was relating his experiences of Sunday School teaching. He said he met an old schoolfellow one day who was a clergyman, and who persuaded him to spend a Sunday with him. In the morning his friend told him that he must come and take a class of boys in the Sunday School. This he protested he could not, and would not, do, but was finally over-persuaded, his friend lending him a commentary, and telling him he had only to keep the class quiet, as he would his own men, hear them read a chapter, and ask them a few questions which he would find in the notes of the commentary. "All went well," he said, "till we had read the chapter through, when I tried to find the questions. I managed to ask one or two, which I found they answered in a moment, so in my despair I thought I would take them into the Old Testament, and now I was more lucky, for I asked them, 'Boys, who was Mephistopheles?' Well, would you believe it, there wasn't a boy of them that knew! And wasn't I glad! I didn't know anything about him myself, you know, except that he was one of the old patriarchs, but it got me out of this trouble, for, though the time wasn't half up, I closed the Bible with a bang and exclaimed, 'Boys! I can teach you no more. Go home and search the Scriptures!'"

A clergyman living at Rainbow Hill, Worcester, in visiting his parish, called on the mother of one of the girls in the Church School, who, being rather "superior," told him she thought a parish school was not quite suited to Florrie, and, as she was rather delicate, she had decided to take her away and send her to a young ladies' cemetery.

Besides the mistakes made by children, the Bishop not unnaturally collected a number of curious answers made in examination papers by older people. The candidates for ordination in the Wakefield diocese supplied some of these, and others he was told by his brother-bishops. Some of these stories were told in the "Memoir of Bishop Walsham How," and others may be well known, but they form an important part of the Bishop's note-book, and must not be omitted here.

The following are answers made in writing by different candidates for ordination:

A number of words were given for explanation, and among them was "cherub." One man wrote, "A cherub is an infant angel, who died before baptism, and will undoubtedly be saved."

Another question was, "How may St. Paul's Epistles be grouped?" One answer was, "St. Paul's Epistles may be divided into two groups, those he wrote before his conversion and those he wrote after."

Another candidate rather surprised the examiner by stating that "in the early Church, before a person was baptized, he was obliged to learn a catechumen."

Another, to the question "Who were the Ophites?" gave the interesting answer that "the Ophites were people who walked by sight and not by faith, the word being derived from the Greek word for to see."

In the Ripon diocese an ordination candidate, in answer to the question, "What religious sects have been founded during the last two centuries?" gave a list which included "the Ecclesiastical Commissioners."

An ordination candidate, being asked in a paper on doctrine to write out the Nicene Creed, wrote (with a magnificent grasp of faith), "I believe in all things visible and invisible."

The Vice-President of the Liverpool Philomathic Society vouches for the story that, in answer to the question "Define a parable," an examinee wrote, "A parable is a heavenly story with no earthly meaning."

A young man having attended some University Extension lectures on physiology, remarked to his clergyman how much light they threw on many things. "For instance," he said, "I never understood one of the Collects in the Prayer-book, which speaks of 'both our hearts,' before. But I see now that it refers to the right and the left ventricle."

Here is another physiological story:

The late Canon Lyttelton, of Gloucester, when rector of Hagley, was fond of scientific teaching, and formed a class in his school for physiology. After a few lectures he received a letter from the mother of one of his pupils, saying, "Reverend sir, Please not to teach our Susan anything more about her inside; it makes her so proud."

In a paper on practical subjects one of the questions asked what rules for almsgiving could be recommended. One of the candidates advised a plan he had seen of having about six boxes in the house, and sending them round at meals for various charities according to the viands on the table. Thus, when the fish was served the box for the Deep Sea Fisheries would be sent round, and when pineapples were being eaten that for the S.P.G.

In answer to the question, "What is a churchwarden?" one of the Battersea College students wrote, "A churchwarden is a godly layman, who appropriates the money of the offertory, and acts as a check upon the extravagance of the parochial clergy."

A friend of mine, when taking missions in Australia, met a clergyman in Victoria who had an old Sunday-school teacher, a man who had taught for thirty years, and who asked him one day whether infant baptism was not invented by Philo at the Council of Trent.

The Warden of University College, Durham, asks the young men of the College to breakfast occasionally. One day, when a few of them were at his table, the following conversation took place: Warden to student, "Have you ever read the Apocrypha?" Student to Warden, "Not all, sir." Warden, "How much have you read?" Student, "Oh, not much, sir." Warden, "Have you read the Maccabees?" Student, "No, sir." Warden, "Or Esdras?" Student, "No, sir." Warden, "Or Wisdom?" Student, "No, sir." Warden, "Well, have you read Bell and the Dragon?" Student, "Oh yes, sir, I've read part of that." Warden, "How much?" Student, "Three chapters, I think." Warden, "Then you've read more than any of us, for there is only one chapter." Poor student!

In one of the examination papers I set as examining chaplain to Bishop Selwyn of Lichfield, it being Michaelmas, I asked the candidates to give an outline of a sermon upon the text, "Are they not all ministering spirits?" One man wrote as follows: "I should consider this a good text for a sermon for the Additional Curates' Society or the Church Pastoral Aid. I should begin by describing in what our ministrations consist, and should speak of the privilege of being called to minister to others. I should then go on to speak of the heirs of salvation to whom we minister, and I should conclude with an earnest appeal to the congregation to provide funds for the sending forth of more such ministering spirits."

A candidate for ordination was asked what he knew of St. Bartholomew, and wrote, "He was almost, if not quite, identical with Nathanael."

Bishop Bickersteth of Ripon had occasion to reject a conceited young deacon who was a candidate for priest's orders, and when the bishop told him of his failure, he said, "I suppose, my Lord, you know that Ambrose was made a bishop, though only a deacon." "Yes," the bishop replied, "and I quite think that if ever you are made a bishop it will be direct from the diaconate."

Archdeacon Bather, who was a great educationist, went into his parish school one day where there was an old and not highly educated master, who was giving an oral lesson on the English language, in which, he said to his class, there are many words pronounced the same, but spelt quite different. "Now," he said, "there's the word 'har.' There's the har you breathe, and the har of your head, and the har that runs in the fields, and the har to an estate, all spelt quite different, but all pronounced the same."

The Bishop of Brisbane, when he was in England before his consecration, was examining in one of the Oxford Local examinations. He set the candidates to write out the Fourth Commandment. One wrote, "Six days shall thy neighbour do all that thou hast to do, and the seventh day thou shalt do no manner of work."

A number of stories in the Bishop's note-book are connected with Scotland and Ireland. Both of these countries were resorted to from time to time by him for purposes of the annual fishing holiday, and it is not too much to say that he made many friends in each among the ghillies and others who accompanied him on his various excursions on loch and riverside. Great was the amusement of two Highland boatmen, who many years ago were rowing him on a Sutherlandshire loch, when during an hour when the fish were very "stiff," he sang them, "Hame cam our gude mon at e'en," an old Scotch ballad by Wilson. The Irish boatmen, he used to think, were more melancholy, and he expressed his surprise at the character for rollicking fun which is often given them in books. At the same time he now and then drew out a real witticism, and more than once he notes with delight a real Irish "bull." Here are some of the stories, not all gleaned from the actual countries, but all referring to persons of these two nationalities:

An Irish clergyman, a neighbour of mine, thought it his duty to speak to a lady who had unhappily lost her faith in Christianity, and after a few arguments he ended by saying, "Well, you will go to hell, you know, and I shall be very sorry indeed to see you there."

A well-known Irish judge in the Insolvent Court once detected a witness kissing his thumb instead of the Book in taking the oath, and in rebuking him sternly said, "You may think to deceive God, sir, but you won't deceive me."

The Reverend G. B——, of Bridgenorth, told me that on a recent visit to Ireland he heard a preacher conclude his sermon with these words: "My brethren, let not this world rob you of a peace which it can neither give nor take away."

At the conclusion of the Irish Church Disestablishment in the House of Commons an enthusiastic Irish member got up and thanked God that at last the bridge was broken down which had so long separated Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.

An Englishman was driving through a beautiful glen in county Wicklow, and asked the driver the name of the valley, to which he replied, "Sure, and it's the divil's glen, yer honour." A little further on the stranger again asked, and the driver said, "Sure, and it's still the divil's glen, yer honour." They afterwards drove through another valley, and the stranger said, "And pray what do you call this?" "It's the divil's kitchen, yer honour," was the reply. The stranger then remarked, "He seems to have a good deal of property in these parts." "Indade, yer honour, he has," said the driver, "but he's mostly an absentee, and lives in London."

An Irish professor created a laugh, when called upon to speak at the Birmingham Church Congress, by beginning, with a rich brogue, "Before I begin to speak, let me say——" No one heard any more of the sentence.

At Bishop Lonsdale's first Ordination at his palace at Eccleshall there were a large number of young men, and at dinner a young Irish deacon called out from the other end of the table to the Bishop, "Me Lord, do you happen to have read my sermon on Justification by Faith?" "No," said the Bishop, "I don't happen to have met with it; but surely, Mr. ——, you have chosen rather a difficult subject." "Not at all, me Lord," the young deacon called out, "and when you've read my sermon you'll find no difficulty in the subject at all!"

A former Dean (an Irishman) in one of his sermons, speaking, as he often did, disparagingly of the Fathers of the early Church, said, "As for unanimity, there was no unanimity in any one of them." In another sermon the same dignitary spoke about "Standing on the seashore and watching the ever-receding horizon." Again, in another he urged his hearers to "take their immovable stand on the onward path of progress."

An Irishman of a certain church in Shrewsbury spoke one day of "the narrow way in which there was only room for one to walk abreast."

A certain clergyman, who was preaching a sermon on behalf of a new burial ground in a large parish, spoke of the sad condition of a population of thirty thousand souls living without Christian burial.

I was driving in a car from Glengariff to Killarney with a friend, and, on starting, a ragged boy on an old white horse rode by our side joking with the driver. My friend spoke to the boy, and said, "Are you the boots at the inn at Glengariff?" To which the boy answered instantly with a grin, "Did yer honour pay the boots? For, if you didn't, I am."

This ready reply is matched by the following story which again shows the readiness to seize an opportunity of personal advantage.

Bishop Wigram of Rochester insisted on his clergy shaving, and when his successor, Bishop Claughton, came to confirm in Oswestry he sat at luncheon opposite to an Irish curate who had a large beard. The bishop, as a joke, looked across the table and said, "You know, Mr.——, if you came into my diocese you would have to shave off your beard." To which came the instant reply, "Me Lord, I accept the condition!"

At a Retreat which I conducted in 1894 one of the services was given out to be held a quarter of an hour earlier than on the printed time-table. An elderly clergyman had not heard this and came in at the printed hour, and found us singing a hymn. He found a seat and then whispered to his neighbour with a strong brogue, "Is this the end of the last service, or the beginning of the next?"

I once heard an Irish clergyman preaching at Barmouth, in recounting the mercies for which we ought to be thankful, speak of "deliverance from savage wild beasts and noxious insects of the night."

An instance of an Irish bull, which was of so natural a kind that it might have been made by any one, occurred when the Bishop and some of his sons were waiting at Athenry Station. Two farmers were overheard talking, and one said, "Will you be going by the first train to-morrow" To which came the reply, "There's no first train from here at all!"

There are in the note-book a large number of entries under the heading of "Taurology," but most of the stories are already well known. One or two only need be quoted.

Two sisters whom I knew, Miss B——s, received a letter from a brother in Australia, and one read it aloud to the other and then began reading it to herself. The other said, "You might let me have a look at it," whereupon the first cried out, "I call that selfish: didn't I read it all aloud to you before I'd seen a word of it meself?"

I asked a Mr. B—— whom I met in July 1896 whether he was any relation to another Mr. B——, a friend of mine, to which he replied, "No: I have no relations of my own. My father was the last of his race."

An Irish footman brought for his master to put on two boots for the same foot. He was sent to rectify the mistake, but returned with the same two boots, saying, "Indeed, yer honour, it wasn't my fault, the other pair's just the same."

The difference between Scotch and Irish character comes out clearly in these stories. Connected as they almost all are with matters ecclesiastical, it is not strange to find the strong Presbyterian dislike to Anglican ceremonial cropping up in the following stories about Scotsmen. But, apart from this, the wit is of a drier kind, and the sayings of a far more sanctimonious character. Here is one about an old forester with whom the Bishop made friends during several of his holidays. This man was invited by a certain duke, whose retainer he was, to pay a visit to his English seat. On the Sunday he was taken to church, and he said afterwards that when the choir came in he thought it was some daughters of the duke and other girls dressed up, and thought it all perfectly disgraceful and making a mock of religion. When the organ played they had to hold him to prevent his going out. "It was," he said, "sic a terrible noise." Other stories follow in the Bishop's own words:

The Duchess of B—— had an old Presbyterian nurse, who was once persuaded to attend the beautiful church they had built. The Duchess afterwards asked her if it was not very beautiful, and she said, "Oh yes, very." "And the singing," said the Duchess, "was not that lovely?" "Yes, your Grace," she said, "it was lovely; but it's an awfu' way of spending the Sabbath."

A Scotch lady and her gardener used to worship together, not agreeing with any form of Church doctrine. A friend remonstrated with her and asked, "Do you really think you and your gardener are the only two real members of the true Church on earth?" To which she replied, "Weel, I'm nae sae sure o' John."

A Scotch minister from a large town once visited and preached in a rural parish, and was asked to pray for rain. He did so, and the rain came in floods and destroyed some of the crops; whereupon one elder remarked to another, "This comes o' entrusting sic a request to a meenister who isna acquentit wi' agriculture."

Bishop Wilberforce used to tell a story of a Scotch minister who always regulated his grace before meat by the prospect before him. If he saw a sumptuous table he began, "Bountiful Jehovah," but if the fare was less tempting he began, "Lord, we are not worthy of the least of Thy mercies."

Archbishop Tait when in Scotland had to sign the receipt for a registered letter before the postman, who, when he heard it was the Archbishop, looked at him and remarked, "Weel, I must say you look rather consequential about the legs."

One of the Bishop's sons was fond of sketching, and on one occasion brought back a story which the Bishop delighted in telling. This son and an artist friend arranged to go on a sketching expedition to the west coast of Scotland, and on arriving there the latter went to interview the minister of the little village which was to be their headquarters. In the course of conversation he asked the minister whether, if they attended his ministrations in the morning, he would be greatly scandalised if they did a little sketching on the Sunday afternoon, to which the good man replied, "Well, your business is to paint pictures and mine is to preach and pray. I preach and pray on the Sabbath, you paint pictures on other days. If you saw me preaching and praying on other days you would raise no objection, so I shall raise none if you paint pictures on the Sabbath." It was a curious argument, and probably it would be difficult to find another minister in all Scotland who would agree with him.

A number of stories relating to sermons have already been given, but a large part of the Bishop's notebook which relates to them has not yet been touched. There are some sermons given almost in extenso, and to these it is only possible to refer briefly. The longest report of a sermon is of one that was printed after it had been delivered by an old gentleman who married his cook and thought that it was necessary to justify his action to his parishioners. He described his bride as "one of plebeian birth and the superintendent of my establishment." He based his explanation on the fact that he himself was of such extraordinarily high birth that, in order to make his hearers comprehend how utterly incapable he was of appreciating the little social distinctions which existed in that parish he would tell them that he could no more appreciate such distinctions than, standing upon a mountain, he could judge of the heights, as compared with each other, of the mole-hills lying scattered around its base. Where, therefore, was he to a find a woman, and moreover a woman willing to take charge of a gouty old gentleman like himself, whose birth in comparison with his own was not plebeian? In the matter of his wife's little peculiarities of pronunciation, &c., he would just remind any satirists that their tenements were constructed of a material certainly not iron, and that to such persons the throwing of stones was a proverbially dangerous practice. He announced in conclusion that all these things were of small importance, as he and his wife had resolved to lead a life of almost absolute seclusion, devoting themselves entirely to her improvement, to the duties of their station, and to the preparation of their souls for heaven.

Another long extract is given from a sermon preached at Llanymawddy. The original is said to be in the British Museum, and the copy made by Dr. Griffith of Merthyn. The sermon is headed "A funeral sermon for a dead body," and is a wonderful example of "English as she is spoke" by the Welshman. It begins with these words: "Good people of Llanymawddy. My dearly beloved brethren, we are met together here to-day for a great preachment for a dead body, the body of good Squire Thomas, the squire of our parish. We did all love him, though he has scolded us shocking, &c."

The preacher went on to say that he knew the words of his text in three languages, "The Latin tongue which is the language of all learned people: I do know them in the English language—it is the language of all genteel people. I do know them in the Welsh language of course—it is the language of all vulgar people."

Much of the sermon is given up to a description of Adam and Eve, the latter being described as "the beautifullest of all women, but she was a very peculiar woman. She wanted to know everything she ought not to know." The Garden of Eden is thus portrayed: "The garden of Squire Thomas was nothing to it: it would take twenty thousand of Squire Thomas' to make such a garden."

It is altogether a most wonderful discourse, and it would be well worth anyone's while to hunt it up in the British Museum, if the original is really to be found there.

Then there is an extract from a sermon preached by an Irish bishop, which, says Bishop Walsham How, "I heard described by one of his clergy who heard it." The point of the sermon was an illustration of the joy over the one repentant sinner by the joy in a household over the baby which had been ill and had recovered. The curious part of the story lies in the fact that at every mention of the baby the preacher dandled his hands up and down as if he were holding it. The constant repetition of this must have been trying to the gravity.

A few more "sermon-notes" may find a place here just as they were jotted down by the Bishop.

A certain preacher, after describing all sorts of evil, exclaimed, "And all this in the so-called nineteenth century!"

A working man refused to go to church because (he said) the parson could tell him nothing in a sermon he didn't know. However, a friend persuaded him to go, and asked him afterwards if he had learnt nothing. "Well, yes," he said, "I did learn one thing. I learnt as Sodom and Gomorrha was two places. I always thought they was man and wife."

It is said that Dean Goulbourn while preaching on the intermixture of evil with good in the Church, said, "Remember, there was a Ham in the Ark"—then, thinking it might sound odd, corrected himself and added, "I mean a human Ham."


As might be expected, a very large number of stories in the Bishop's note-book concern Episcopal dignitaries either past or present. It is unfortunate that some of the very best are told of bishops who are still alive, and, although there is not an ill-natured word on any single page, yet it might not be advisable to publish these anecdotes, lest this little volume should be open to the charge of want of respect for those in high places.

How often a story is told of, say Bishop Wilberforce, and at its conclusion the narrator says, "Or perhaps it was Bishop Magee," entirely forgetting the wide difference between these witty prelates, and spoiling the story by his uncertainty. It will be noticed that some of the better-known stories which are given below have Bishop Walsham How's own evidence of their origin, and it is possible that in some cases their publication may be useful as clearing up all doubts as to their source. For instance, he knew well both Bishop Wilberforce and Bishop Magee, and for the stories about them he frequently vouches.

The Bishop of Winchester (Wilberforce) is renowned for his wit. I was one day dining in his company. He was to the right of the lady of the house, Canon G—— to her left, and I next to him. Canon G—— was talking to the bishop across the lady of the house about a very old man, and observed that he was losing his faculties very fast, his senses of taste and smell being so completely gone that some naughty boys in his house, knowing that he always had a lightly boiled egg for breakfast, blew it one morning and filled it with castor oil, and he never found out. The bishop looked up with one of his merry twinkles and simply said, "Never?"

On another occasion at a dinner party a young man was talking rather foolishly about Darwin and his books, speaking very contemptuously of them, and he said to the bishop, "My Lord, have you read Darwin's last book on the Descent of Man?" "Yes, I have," said the bishop; whereupon the young man continued, "What nonsense it is talking of our being descended from apes! Besides, I can't see the use of such stuff. I can't see what difference it would make to me if my grandfather was an ape." "No," the bishop replied, "I don't see that it would; but it must have made an amazing difference to your grandmother!" The young man had no more to say. I could quote many more witty sayings of the bishop, but they would give no idea of the real humour with which they were spoken, so much depending on the bishop's inimitable manner and tone of voice.

Bishop Wilberforce, in one of his instructions upon preaching, gave descriptions of what were not sermons, before proceeding to describe what was a sermon. One of his sentences was this: "A few texts floating here and there in the feeble waste of your own turbid fancies—that's not a sermon."

The same bishop, after preaching a very eloquent charity sermon, was going from the pulpit to the altar when an enthusiastic lady, too much moved to wait for the offertory plate, put a half-sovereign into his hand, saying, "I must give my mite," to which he replied, looking at the coin, "I thought there were two of them."

A great friend of Bishop Wilberforce told me of a little bit of cleverness of his which is worth recording. He was telling a story of an Italian Marchesa, in which she made a clever repartee in French. The bishop was known not to be very perfect in French, and my informant said he awaited his enunciation of the French remark with some anxiety. But he need not have been anxious, for the bishop discounted any shortcomings by saying, "Then the Marchesa said—(you know her French was not very perfect)——" and so made the quotation.

Of Archbishop Magee the following stories are recorded by the Bishop:

I was with Bishop Magee in a railway carriage once, and he had the Church Times and the Rock on his knees. Before the train started a newspaper boy held up a copy of Church Bells to him, and he looked up and said, "What's that? Oh, Church Bells. That's moderate, isn't it? No, thank you; I like to read the extremes and do the moderation for myself."

The same bishop at a dinner party had some soup spilt over his coat by a clumsy servant, and exclaimed, "Is there any layman who would kindly express my feelings in suitable language?"

Bishop Magee at a City dinner was sitting next to some one who had to propose the health of Alderman Pigeon, of whom he knew very little. He asked the bishop what he could say about him: "Oh," was the reply, "say you hope he will some day find himself in a mayor's nest."

Here is a story which is frequently quoted, and is inserted here for the sake of the guarantee of authenticity:

The Bishop of Peterborough (Magee), being plagued to go and open all sorts of things—churches, schools, bazaars, &c.—exclaimed one day, "I do believe very soon there will not be a young curate in the diocese who has bought a new umbrella, who will not apply to the bishop to come and open it." (Said to the Bishop of Leicester, who told me.)

Bishop Magee, walking one day with the Bishop of Hereford by the Wye, said to him, "If you will give me your river I will give you my see."

The Bishop of Peterborough, being pressed to give a certain man a living, said, "If it rained livings I would offer Mr. —— (after a pause) an umbrella." (This was said by the bishop in the Athenæum to a friend of mine, who told me.)

A lady who was a great admirer of a certain preacher took Bishop Magee with her to hear him, and asked him afterwards what he thought of the sermon. "It was very long," the bishop said. "Yes," said the lady, "but there was a saint in the pulpit." "And a martyr in the pew," rejoined the bishop.

Lastly, there is a touching little story of his self-estimation:

The Bishop of Peterborough (Magee), speaking of Bishop Harold Browne, said he owed him a grudge, "for he's got all my sweetness of disposition as well as his own."

The remaining stories about bishops fall under two heads—first, those which are told definitely of some particular bishop; secondly, those which are told of "a bishop," and to which too much credit need not necessarily be given.

Under the first heading come the following:

A certain bishop [the name is given] on his marriage determined to go abroad, and he and his bride spent the first night at Folkestone, meaning to cross next day to Boulogne. There was a great crowd on the platform in the morning, and the bishop asked his wife to wait in a certain spot while he went and saw to the luggage. He made some mistake and could not find her, and, supposing she had gone on board, went to look for her, when the vessel started and he was carried off to Boulogne. His wife had to return ignominiously to the hotel, where she received great commiseration from the landlady. The lady was quite sure some accident had happened to her husband, and a messenger was sent to see, and when he returned the landlady came in with a very grave face, and said, "I am sorry to say, ma'am, there's been no accident. But he didn't look like a gentleman to do such a thing." Of course he returned by the next steamer.

Bishop Selwyn of Lichfield was once asked how he came to give his theological college men such an ugly hood—black and yellow like a wasp. "Oh," he said, "I wanted to distinguish them from St. Bees' men."

It was said of Bishop Christopher Wordsworth of Lincoln that one half of him was in heaven and the other half in the seventeenth century.

When Dr. Moberly, Bishop of Salisbury, was old and infirm, he went with a friend to visit Old Sarum, and, as he was toiling up with the help of his friend, the latter remarked, "It's hard work getting up Old Sarum," to which the bishop replied, "It's harder work getting old Sarum up!"

A certain suffragan bishop was mobbed one day in a low part of London by costers, who told him they couldn't have him wear such a hat and dress. He told them he was a poor orphan with neither father nor mother to look after him and see to his clothes; so they let him go, saying, "We can't chaff you, governor."

A witty bishop of the present day, being pressed to go to many parishes for Confirmation, said that the final clause of the Baptismal Service wanted altering, and should be worded, "Ye are to take care that the bishop be brought to this child to confirm him," &c.

When Bishop Stanley first went to Norwich he went up the tower of the Cathedral, and, hearing some jackdaws twittering in a hole in the wall, and being very fond of birds, he put his hand in and drew out three young jackdaws, which he took down in his pocket and put in the garden. The next morning he could not find them, and, while looking round the garden, heard, just outside, some boys making a noise. One was crying, "Who stole Jim Crow's cadges?" (This is the local name for jackdaws.) So he ran out and caught the boys, and found out the culprit, whom he had up before the magistrates, and was going to have punished, when the boy's father asked if he might ask a question, and, leave being given, asked, "Can you tell me, sir, who the Cathedral belongs to?" "To the dean," was the answer. "Then," said the man, "who stole the dean's cadges?" This ended the matter, and the boy was dismissed.

Bishop Short (of St. Asaph) was much annoyed by his clergy seeking promotion. One day he visited a certain parish with Archdeacon Wickham, where the clergyman, as he knew, thought he ought to be promoted to a better living. This clergyman pointed to his house and school, which he had rebuilt, and said, "I think, my Lord, I have done pretty well in this parish in building the parsonage and school." "Yes," said the bishop, "indeed you have, and may you long live to enjoy the sight of your labours."

When preparations were being made for the funeral of a former bishop of Lichfield, a newly made archdeacon, who had held preferment in the Black Country, was giving directions to the secretary in the cathedral. The senior verger was standing by with some others. The archdeacon said to the secretary, "You had better send post cards to the prebendaries stating the exact hour," whereupon the verger turned to a gentleman standing by and said, "Post cards to prebendaries! Well, if them's his Black Country manners the sooner he goes back there the better!"

Bishop Pepys (of Worcester), who was a stout old man, was walking near Hartlebury one day when the omnibus for Worcester passed, and the driver was beating the horses most unmercifully. The bishop called out to him that if he went on in that way he would have him up. The man told him to hold his noise or he would give him the same. The bishop followed the omnibus into the village and found it standing at the inn door, so he called out the landlady and asked the name of the driver. She said she did not know as he was a stranger, the regular driver being ill. So the bishop walked on, and entered the drive up to the castle. Meantime the landlady went to the driver and asked him what he had been doing, as the bishop had been asking his name. "What," he said, "was that the bishop? Why, I said I would lay into him next! Which way did he go?" So off he ran, whip in hand, to beg the bishop's pardon. In a short time the bishop heard steps following, looked round, saw the driver running after him, and, remembering the man's threat, took to his heels and ran as hard as he could towards the house. At last to his relief he heard the man panting and puffing behind him cry out, "Oh, my Lord! I hope you'll forgive me, my Lord!" So he pulled up and recovered his breath and his dignity as best he could.

When the Act of Uniformity Amendment Act (Shortened Services Act) was passed, a very short service was held in Westminster Abbey at 7.45 A.M. to last only fifteen minutes, partly for the sake of the masters at the school. Lord Hatherly always attended this service, but, although perhaps the busiest man in England, did not like the abbreviations. The new lectionary had lately come into use, and Lord Hatherly told the Bishop of Lichfield (Selwyn) as they came out of the Abbey one morning that he had discovered the true merits of the new lectionary. He said that, the lessons beginning so often in the middle of a chapter, he found that it took the reader so long to find his place that he (Lord H.) had time to finish the Psalms (of which only a portion was used) to himself. [In connection with the above story it may be noted that Bishop Walsham How was at one time examining chaplain to Bishop Selwyn, and may probably have been told it by him.]

I happened to be in London just at the time when the Diocese of St. Alban's was created, and when Bishop Claughton, then Bishop of Rochester, had his choice between Rochester and St. Alban's, but had not decided which to be. I went to dine with Canon Erskine Clarke and met there old Mr. Philip Cazenove, who took me in his carriage to a reception at Bishop Woodford's. Mr. Cazenove knew both his Bible and his Horace thoroughly. Almost the first person we met at the reception was Bishop Claughton, and Mr. Cazenove shook him by the hand saying, "How do you do, my Lord, sive tu mavis Rochester vocari sive St. Alban's." The bishop, a First in Classics, was delighted. [It may be noted that Bishop Walsham How had been curate to Bishop Claughton at Kidderminster, and a close friend all his life.]

Miss Jacobson told me that her father, the Bishop of Chester, was once talking with a foreign ecclesiastic who had a great admiration for Dr. Pusey, whom he spoke of as ce cher Pussy.

A gushing young lady was visiting Bishop Philpotts at Torquay, and, standing at a window at Bishop's Court, she exclaimed, "How beautiful! It's just like Switzerland!" "Yes," said the bishop, "just like Switzerland, except that here there are no mountains, and there no sea."

The Bishop of Bangor (Campbell) told me that when a former dean was quite in his dotage he had got it into his head that the bishop was dead. So he went and called upon him. The old dean was very courteous, asking after his health and his daughter's, seeming to have quite forgotten his delusion, when suddenly he seemed struck with the thought that he was losing an opportunity and exclaimed, "Oh, by the way, you are sure to be able to tell me who your successor is."

The late Bishop Hills one Monday morning was standing talking to Mr. Pearson, the Vicar of Darlington, when a Mr. Maughan (pronounced Morn) came up and handed the bishop some sovereigns, saying, "There, my Lord, is our yesterday's collection for your fund." At once Mr. Pearson bowed and said, "Hail, smiling morn, that tips the hills with gold!"

A former bishop of Nottingham was a large, fine man with a good deal of dignity of manner. He one night found a burglar in his house, seized him, threw him down, and, having managed to ring the bell, sat upon him till help came. While so doing he asked the man if he knew who was sitting upon him. The burglar said "No." "I am the Bishop of Nottingham," said the bishop, whereupon (as the bishop told it) the burglar used an expression not complimentary to bishops.

Bishop Temple of London is a very powerful man, and when he first preached in Spitalfields Church some of the policemen came to hear him. The rector, Mr. Billing, afterwards asked one of them what he thought of the new bishop. "Well, sir," said the man, "I think it would take two of us to run him in."

A former bishop of Exeter in old days was noted for saying severe and sarcastic things in the blandest tones. Once when sitting with a friend in an arbour in his garden he saw a party of strangers coolly walking round his garden. He mentioned to his friend that he was frequently annoyed by these unwarrantable intrusions, saying he would speak very sharply to these people when they came past. As they reached the place the bishop to their great dismay stepped out and confronted them. They were profuse in their apologies, saying they knew his kindness and hoped they were not intruding, "Oh, no," said his Lordship, "pray make it your own: I will only ask one little favour: I should be greatly obliged if you would not go through the house to-day, as a lady is seriously ill there."

Apropos of this story it is worth recording that when Bishop Walsham How moved into the new house which was built for him at Wakefield a footpath which ran straight through the middle of the garden had to be diverted. The legal time for closing the old footpath had not arrived when the bishop first went to live in the house, and he was much beset by inquisitive people wandering about the whole place. There is a flower border round the house, edged with a raised stone edging. This stonework was kept thoroughly worn and dirty opposite to each sitting-room window, owing to it being used by the unobtrusive Yorkshireman as a standing place from which he could look into the rooms. The edging was not more than a few feet from the windows, so the nuisance became very great.

A bishop of Sodor and Man travelling on the continent found himself entered in the book of a French hotel as l'évèque du siphon et de l'homme.

A story about suffragan bishops. Archbishop Tait's coachman, Wyatt, was driving a gentleman one day when the latter asked about the horses, the coachman saying, "We had a hard time of it some years ago knocking about to Confirmations and Consecrations all over the country, but since we've taken Mr. Parry into the business we've done better." (Mr. Parry was the suffragan bishop of Dover.)

The Bishop of Bedford (Billing) when rector of Spitalfields was once visiting a pickpocket who had been very ill, and on whom he thought he had made some impression. One day Mr. Billing saw he was getting better and said he hoped he would soon be able to get to work. "Oh, yes, sir," said the man, "it's a good time of year coming on, just when one meets so many old gents coming home from dinner at night."

Finally, here are two or three stories to which no name is attached:

An ambitious young curate once complained to his bishop that he had not sufficient scope for his energies, and would like a larger sphere of work. The bishop quietly remarked, "Would a hemisphere do?"

A bishop once stayed at a house where they put out for him a set of silver-mounted brushes. When he left, the brushes disappeared, and the master of the house waited some days thinking he should receive them back, but, not doing so, he wrote and inquired if they had got packed up by mistake with the bishop's things. He received a telegram next day saying, "Poor but honest; look in table-drawer."

A young lady sitting by a bishop-suffragan who was also an archdeacon, asked him if it was true that he was an archdeacon as well as a bishop, and when he said, "Yes," she said, "Is not that what they call pleurisy?"

A certain bishop of the old school had a well-known and invariable Confirmation charge, which began, "My dear young friends, we have been engaged in a very interesting, and (as I hold it to be) a perfectly unobjectionable ceremony."

A certain clergyman about to be married is said to have written to his bishop to ask if he could marry himself, as he wished the wedding to be very quiet, and did not want to trouble any other clergyman. The bishop is said to have replied that he could not give him permission to marry himself, but he thought he might allow him to bury himself if he wished and felt able.


These are not very numerous, and occupy a comparatively small portion of the note-book. Some of them have already appeared in the "Life of Bishop Walsham How."

I once visited the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and was going on afterwards for a week's fishing in Dorsetshire. It so happened that my portmanteau, in which were my dress-clothes, was locked, but a carpet-bag containing all my fishing things was not locked. When I went up to dress for dinner at the Palace I found that the butler had put out all my fishing clothes with wading stockings and wading boots for me to dress in for dinner.

I received the following letter during the time that I was Bishop of Wakefield:

May it please your Lordship,

To inform me, my Lord, wether I have a legal right to a grave, or not, supposing my granfather of my mother's side, my Lordship, and the said granfather had no son, and my mother was the eldest daughter, and I am my mother's eldest child and only son, my Lordship, who would become in possession, of the said grave, my Lordship, supposing my father, loeses my mother, my Lordship, has he a legal right to bury my mother, in the said grave, if it is not left, in the aforesaid,—granfather's Will, my Lordship, hasn't the aforesaid granfather granson the Legal Right of the said Grave, my Lordship, has a Son-in-law, a Legal Right before a Granson, to the said Grave, my Lordship, has my sister a Legal Right, to have my Father, buryed in the said Grave, my Lordship, without the concent of her Brother, my Lordship, is that Grave invested with Vicar's Right's, so that no one can interfear with the said Grave, my Lordship, the said Grave has a Head Stone to it and there was a certain amount of Fee's to be paid, before, the said Vicar allows the said Stone to be put over the Grave, my Lordship, would not that Grave devolve and become Freehold Property, my Lordship, may it please your Grace to send me a reply

from yours truly


This letter is perfect sense, and was "translated" by the Bishop's legal secretary. Entire repunctuation will be found a great assistance to any one whose curiosity leads them to attempt to gather the meaning.

I have had a complaint from a layman to say that his rector in a sermon recently preached explained the repetition of the Lord's Prayer in the Church service by saying as follows: "The prayer occurs three times in the morning service; one is for those who get to church in good time, the second one is for the late, the third one is for the very late." My correspondent did not think this profitable teaching.

A working man in East London being shown some photographs came to one of the Bishop of Bedford (myself), and the clergyman who was showing the photographs said, "That is the Bishop of Bedford, he is a total abstainer you know." The man paused a moment and then said, "Ah, there's reformed in all classes, no doubt."

A little girl at Eastbourne was at a church where I was preaching, and in a whisper in the middle of the sermon begged her mother to let her have a pair of sleeves like the bishop's.

An old woman, whom I confirmed lately in a Yorkshire parish, said to the clergyman's wife at the end of the service, "A turned sick three times, but a banged thro'."

I sent a curate to look at a church I wanted him to take charge of, and he found a choirboy in the church who told him the Bishop had been there the Sunday before. "And what did you think of him?" said the curate. The boy replied, "A thought he'd a been a bigger mon."

I have received a letter from a man complaining that, having been recommended to study "Daniel on the Book of Common Prayer," he had read the book of Daniel all through, and could find no mention of the Prayer-book in it.

Our forefathers seem to have had occasion for a curious instrument called a scratchback, which consisted of a small ivory hand screwed on to a long light handle. One of these is preserved as a curiosity at a country house in this diocese. My domestic chaplain, when he first called there, finding himself alone in the drawing-room, took up the instrument, and never having enjoyed the experience proceeded to put it down his back. At that moment the lady of the house entered, and my chaplain hastily withdrawing the machine found the handle had separated from the hand, which was left behind. He had to apologise, and ask permission to retire that he might recover the missing hand.


In common with most people whose names are well known, Bishop Walsham How received many letters from lunatics. He also met with a few and has recorded one or two of his experiences. One of these dates from somewhat early days, as will be seen from the reference to Dr. Christopher Wordsworth. It runs as follows:

Once when I was staying at St. John's Wood I took an early omnibus to Westminster, and as it was fine I got up outside and had for a companion a very gentlemanly looking man of military appearance. He soon began to talk about prophecy and the revelation, showing an intimate acquaintance with the Bible, and at last he asked me if I did not think the time had arrived for the Messiah to be again revealed in the flesh. I of course deprecated all attempts to fix the date of the Second Advent, but he persisted in his attempts to prove that the Messiah would again be incarnate. I saw he was full of wild notions, but I was rather startled when he asked me if I could name any one on earth who seemed to me to answer to all the requirements I should look for in the Messiah, and when I said, "Certainly not," he startled me still more by saying, "Now I should be disposed to say Dr. Christopher Wordsworth" (then Dean of Westminster) "answered most nearly, if it were not for his extraordinary hallucination with regard to the millenium." Of course by this time I saw the man was mad. However, I asked him if he could name any one more perfectly answering to his expectation. He then asked me if I understood the meaning of the Frogs in the book of Revelation, and, on my answering in the negative, he said. "I ask myself what can you predicate of frogs? Only two things, they croak and they jump. So when I hear any one clear his throat, suddenly putting his hand up to his mouth, I say to myself, 'That is the sign of the frogs. The time is come'." He then said, "You will allow, I presume, that the Messiah must appear from a mountain?" To which I of course assented, as I did to everything else now. "And that mountain must bear a name equivalent to Armageddon?" "Yes." "Do you know what Armageddon means?" "No." "It is a name of the devil." "Oh!" "Well, such a mountain exists." "Where?" "In the county of Tipperary, and at the foot of that mountain I was born." He then went on with a long rhapsody, saying, "Yes, I am the Messiah, though men won't believe it. It's a most curious fact that, while the interests of humanity centre in me, each man believes that they centre in himself. Yes, I am the scape-goat. You know that goat was sent into the wilderness by the priest. Ah! that event happened on" (here he mentioned very rapidly some date which I forget). "I was the goat: moral wilderness, you know—commission in lunacy. My brother was the priest—sent me into the wilderness, &c. &c." He was now talking very rapidly and excitedly, and I was glad our journey came to an end.

The other incident recorded in the note-book occurred more recently, when on the Monday before Ash Wednesday the Bishop had been preaching in a London church, and a young man came to the vestry after the service to speak to him. The Bishop having asked him how he could help him, the young man laid one hand on the Bishop's knee, looked him earnestly in the face, and said in a loud impressive whisper, "To-morrow's pancake day, and the next day's salt-fish!"


Few people remember dreams to the same extent as Bishop Walsham How. It was a very usual thing at breakfast for him to tell some absurd dream that he had had, the remembrance of which often amused him so much as to greatly hinder its recital. In his note-book he has recorded two, one of his own, and one of Bishop Jackson's (of London).

A Dream of Red Tape.—A clergyman is often rather beset with forms to fill up. Probably in consequence of this I dreamt one night that I was walking through a street with a lady, and, it having been raining, there were many puddles. I stopped and said I had got some new forms in my pocket which would be most useful. I then pulled out a large roll of forms, printed as follows: "Madam, allow me to have the honour of assisting you to——over this——." There was a line below for a signature. I explained that you had only to fill up the first space with "step" or "jump," and the second with "puddle" or "pool," according to size, sign your name at the bottom and the thing was done.

This is a comparatively recent entry in the note-book, but the dream occurred many years ago. Those who remember the Bishop telling it in old days will not have forgotten that he used to say that he dreamt it after spending a long day signing his name at the Oswestry Savings' Bank of which he was a trustee.

Bishop Jackson's dream was as follows:

The Bishop of London, at the time of one of the great gatherings of Sunday school children in St. Paul's Cathedral, dreamt that he was there, and heard them singing a hymn, one verse of which was as follows:

To our Churchwardens we will tell The wonders of this day, And eke to them will take the bill Of what they have to pay.


A Yorkshire clergyman the other day, visiting a poor man who had just lost his little boy, endeavoured to console him. The poor man burst into tears, and in the midst of his sobs exclaimed: "If 'twarna agin t' law a should ha' liked to have t' little beggar stoofed."

A leading layman in the Wakefield diocese went to see a poor old woman whose husband had just died after a long illness. In talking of him she remarked, "Eh, but John's tabernacle tuk a deal o' riving to bits."

The Vicar of Sowerby Bridge met with a woman in his parish who said she could not agree with the Church. On being pressed for particulars she said she could not hold with renouncing the devil and all his works.

The Vicar of one of the large towns in the diocese of Wakefield was having a pipe in his kitchen late at night when, about 11 P.M., there was a knock at the door, and when he opened it he found two Salvation lassies who said they had called to see if he would give them something for their work. He said he was sorry he could not do so, though he wished them well, and he asked if they found much drunkenness in that town. "Yes," said one of them, "and also of its twin child of the devil, smoking."

A Yorkshireman (the story is told of Birstall) who had a scolding wife met a mate one morning who looked rather sad, and asked him what was the matter. The other said, "I've lost my old missus." To this the former replied, "I'll swop my wick un for your dead un, and pay t' funeral expenses too!"

Another Birstall story:

When the present incumbent was appointed to Birstall, a man there said, "We've had no Harvest Festival this time, as there was no vicar, but now a new one is appointed I dare say we shall have a lot of them!"

A very wealthy manufacturer whose works were in the Wakefield diocese was asked for a donation to a charitable object, and said they might put down his name for two guineas. It was pointed out to him that his son had already given twice that amount, and he might not like his name to appear for less than his son's. "Oh, it's all right," he said; "you see he has got a well-to-do father, and I haven't."

Two men went round a parish in Yorkshire, house to house, collecting a fund for the repair of the churchyard wall. Presently they came to a house where the man had just come in from work and was washing himself in the back kitchen. Hearing the men in the front room he called out, "What dost a want? Dost a want some o' ma brass? Nay, thee'll noan get ma brass for yon job." One of the men replied, "Why, t' wall wants mending badly." "Nay, man," answered the man in the back room, "them as is in t' churchyard weant get out, and them as isn't in doant want to get in. Tha, man, let it bide."

A clergyman in Yorkshire, visiting a dying man, observed him putting his hand out of the bed and eating something from time to time, so he said he was glad to see he could eat a little, when the man with a funny look said, "They're my funeral biscuits. The missis went to the town and bought them, and she's out to-day, and I'm eating them."

A poor woman at Halifax talking of her husband, said he had tried everything—he had been a churchman, then a Wesleyan, then a Baptist, and now he was a Yarmouth bloater. (She meant Plymouth brother, but had got her seaports mixed.)

A girl in Hebden Bridge came to the vicar to put up her banns of marriage. When all was done she lingered at the door and the vicar said, "Well, Mary, is there anything more?" To this she replied rather shyly, "Please, sir, will t' same spurrings do for another chap?" (Spurrings is a Yorkshire word for banns, and is really speerings or inquirings.)

At Thornhill an old woman lost her brother and went continually to talk to him at his grave. One day she was overheard saying, "Eh, William, t' pigs turned out well. We'd a bit o' spar rib yesterday, and a wish thee could ha' tasted it. And a've sold t' hams, William."

A former vicar of Dewsbury at a funeral in a cemetery, where the grave was under the wall of the chapel, remarked to the widow, "It's a nice sheltered spot." "Ah, yes," she answered, "my poor husband never could bear a draught."


The remainder of the stories in the note-book are concerning such varied matters that it is impossible to classify them, and they are given here—such of them as it is deemed right to publish—as a concluding chapter of this little volume:

A friend of mine met with a timber-merchant one day, who said he thought the Old Testament was not very historical, and contained things no one could believe. He said, for instance, that he had made rather accurate calculations of the size and weight of the Ark, and it was simply absurd to think that the Israelites could carry such a huge thing about with them in the wilderness for forty years, even without the animals.

At a funeral of a wife the undertaker put the bereaved husband in the first carriage with his mother-in-law. When the widower heard of the arrangement he remonstrated with the undertaker, and asked if he could not go in one of the other carriages. Being told that this would be remarked upon, as the nearest relatives always went in the first carriage, he yielded, saying, "Ah, well, if it must be so, it must; but you've quite spoilt my day for me."

A clergyman of very unclerical habits was salmon-fishing in Scotland in 1872, and made use of strong expressions which very much disgusted the ghillie who accompanied him. At last the clergyman, on losing a fish he had hooked, made use of a very improper word when the ghillie could stand it no longer, but broke out with, "I'm thinking there maun ha' been a sair lack o' timber when they made thee a prop o' the Tabernacle."

The Rev. R. Bonner, our late Government School Inspector, hired a gig from Shrewsbury to drive to inspect a school. The driver in the course of conversation informed him that they had got a new clergyman in his parish who did all sorts of strange things. On Mr. Bonner asking him what, he said, "Why, sir, he makes them sing the Psalms all through." Mr. B. answered, "Don't you think the Psalms were meant to be sung?" To which he replied, "I never heard that before, sir." Mr. B. then said, "Surely David wrote them for music." "Who did you say, sir?" the man answered. "David," said Mr. B., "You know they are called the Psalms of David." Whereupon the driver said, "Oh, yes, sir, I was forgetting. Didn't a gentleman of the name of Hopkins help him?"

A former curate of mine, the Rev. G. E. Sheppard, left to go to All Saints, Shrewsbury, where I went to see him. On the wall of his room was a picture with these words underneath:

The Queen was asked upon one day Where the greatness of Old England lay, And very soon she was heard to say, It lays within the Bible.

A sceptical working man told a curate who was talking to him about our Lord's life that he had a curious old book at home by a writer called Herodotus, but, though it was very old it did not even mention any of the miracles recorded in the New Testament.

A young clergyman was accused by his vicar of using too long words in preaching, "felicity" being given as an example. He was sure every one understood the word, so the vicar called up an old woman and asked her if she knew what "felicity" meant. She said, "Beant it summut in the inside of a pig?"

An organising secretary of the Additional Curates' Society told me of a wonderful experience of another secretary of the same society. He was asked to stay at a gentleman's house in Worcestershire, and, when shown in, his host said he was sorry he could not shake hands with him, as he made it a rule to shake hands alternately with the right hand and the left, and he could not remember which he had used last. Then, as they went in to dinner, he told him it was the rule of the house always to make the sign of the cross with the foot on the floor at the dining-room door. After he had gone up to bed his host came in many times to offer him a night-shirt, a razor, &c. At last he thought he had got rid of him and went to sleep. But at midnight his host came and told him it was the rule of the house that at twelve o'clock all should change beds, and he actually had to turn out and go into another bed.

A woman wishing good-bye to a clergyman's wife when they were going to another parish, said to her, "We shall all miss Mr. ——'s sermons very much, for, you know, intellect is not what we want in this parish."

A certain rector, who was not a lively preacher, always closed his eyes when saying the Prayers. His curate wrote the following epigram:

I never see my rector's eyes; He hides their light divine: For, when he prays, he shuts his own, And, when he preaches, mine.

A man who had been a great drunkard was persuaded to take the pledge, and some time afterwards a lady went to see the wife, and asked her how they were getting on, to which she replied, "Oh, ma'am, we're getting on right well. He never beats me now, and never swears at me. I say he's more like a friend than a husband now."

A gentleman was invited to a Church function, and wrote and excused himself as he was going to the races, "but," he added, "I shall be with you in spirit."

An old verger whom I knew lost his wife, and a clergyman went in the evening after the funeral to condole with him. As he reached the door he heard very lively voices inside, and on opening it the first words he heard were from the old verger himself who was exclaiming, "What's trumps?" The room was full of tobacco smoke, and as soon as the verger, to his horror, saw his vicar standing at the door he said very humbly, "Oh, sir, I beg pardon; it's only a few friends as helped to put my poor wife underground."

A former Archdeacon of Gloucester had on his paper of inquiries addressed to the churchwardens this question: "Is your clergyman of sober life and conversation?" One churchwarden answered, "He is sober, but I have had no conversation with him for many years."

An enthusiastic total abstainer had a bit of blue ribbon sewn on his nightshirts, for, he said, if the house was on fire and he had to escape in his night-dress, he would like people to see that he was a member of the blue ribbon society.

A Mr. Manning was curate of my old parish of Whittington at the time the present form of marriage registers came into use, and, not understanding the heading "Condition," he filled up that column in the first entry, "Man lean, woman rather fat."

An Act of Parliament against making false entries in registers, or mutilating them, is bound up with many Registers. The penalty is transportation for ten years. Towards the end of the Act is a short clause (with the word "penalties" in the margin) saying, "Half the penalties under this Act are to go to the informer, and the other half to the poor of the parish."

At a charity sermon a certain nobleman was in a seat with a rich man whom he did not know, but who knew him, the nobleman being furthest from the door. At the close of the sermon the nobleman took out a shilling and placed it on the book-board. The rich parvenu was very indignant, and as a rebuke took out a sovereign and placed it on the book-board. The nobleman looked for a moment and then quietly put down another shilling, the other putting down at once a second sovereign. And so they went on till the nobleman had five shillings and the other five pounds before him. When the alms-bag came the rich man ostentatiously put the five sovereigns in. The nobleman put one shilling into the bag, and the other four into his pocket.

Some Americans managed to get an interview with Mr. Keble at Hursley. He walked with them through the garden, when one of them picked a branch of a climbing rose, and said, "Now, if you will have the goodness to hand that to me I can get five dollars for it in New York."

The vicar of an East London parish was one of the first London clergymen to grow his beard. The then Bishop of London wished to stop the practice, and, as he was going to confirm in that church, sent his chaplain to the vicar to ask him to shave it off, saying he should otherwise select another church for the Confirmation. The vicar replied that he was quite willing to take his candidates to another church, and would give out next Sunday the reason for the change. Of course, the bishop retracted.

The old Mitre Hymn-book had in it a hymn describing the just man, and, among the noble Christian graces ascribed to him, is the following couplet:

And what his charity impairs He saves by prudence in affairs.

A Professional View of a Church Congress.—At the Bath Church Congress a friend of mine went to have his hair cut, and, finding that the barber had been to a session of the Congress the evening before, he asked him what he thought of it. He replied, "I was greatly struck, sir, with the number of bald heads."

A clergyman travelling in the North of England got into conversation with a fellow traveller, and told him about St. Cuthbert, and then was beginning to tell him about the Venerable Bede, when the other remarked, "I think, sir, you are mistaken. You will find that Cuthbert and Bede were the same person." He was doubtless thinking of "Cuthbert Bede," the nom de plume of Edward Bradley, the author of "Mr. Verdant Green."

Jowett of Balliol was once asked by a friend if he thought a really good man could be happy on the rack. He said, "Perhaps, if he were a very good man, and it was a very bad rack."

One of the speakers at the meeting of the Catholic Truth Society at Bristol (Sept. 1895) told a story of a pious Catholic visiting Westminster Abbey, and kneeling in a quiet corner for private devotion, when he was summoned in stentorian tones to come and view the royal tombs and chapels. "But I have seen them," said the stranger, "and I only wish to say my prayers." "Prayers is over," said the verger. "Still, I suppose," said the stranger, "there can be no objection to my saying my prayers quietly here?" "No objection, sir!" said the irate verger. "Why, it would be an insult to the Dean and Chapter."

In Doylestown, United States of America, cemetery is a square enclosure with four tombstones at the four corners recording the deaths of the four wives of one man. In the centre stands a large monument, with name and dates of birth and death, and the touching words,

"Our Husband."

A certain well-known preacher of somewhat exciting sermons was invited by the Vicar of Willenhall to preach in his church. One of the parishioners afterwards describing the effect of the sermon upon him to his vicar said, "It was a main fine sarment, sir, but he first speak in a whisper like, and then he shouted that loud as made me hop clean off my seat. So the next time I watched him, and when I heerd him a-whisperin' I see it a-comin', and I ketch right tight howd of the seat a this'n" (suiting the action to the word), "and then it didna do me no harm."

Mr. Edward Haycock, jun., the architect, of Shrewsbury, in speaking to a builder about the restoration of a church, was fairly puzzled by the man recommending that a certain addition should be made with a le-anto roof. Mr. Haycock did not like to acknowledge his ignorance of this sort of roof, and he asked the man to describe how he would manage it, when he soon saw that the man was talking of a lean-to roof.

An old lady in Shrewsbury once complained to my father about Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, and said that it never was so in her younger days, and she supposed it was the Radicals that had done it. On my father saying that it had been so sometimes before, she said, "Well, perhaps I'm wrong, for my memory is getting very bad, and I have a distinct recollection of Good Friday once happening on a Sunday."

The Vicar of Highclere once took duty in a church where he thought he had only morning and afternoon sermons to provide. Finding there was also an evening service, and not being prepared with a third sermon, he gave out in the morning that there would be no sermon in the evening, and then immediately gave out the hymn, "O day of rest and gladness," which caused some smiles.

A friend of mine was taking a mission for the vicar of a parish in Bolton. As they were walking together down the street they met an old woman, and the vicar asked her after her husband, who was very ill, saying, "I am afraid he is very ill." "Yes, sir," she answered, "but I do my best for him: I read the Burial Service to him every day to get him used to it."

A certain clergyman was said to be invisible for six days of the week, and incomprehensible on the seventh.

An old gardener, whose master was dead, and who was engaged to continue with his successor, was seen by his new master one day measuring some young trees in the garden. When asked what he was doing, he replied, "Well, sir, I don't think I'm long for this world, and when I go up there the first thing the old master will ask me will be, 'How are the young trees getting on?'"

A Coincidence.—I was once reading the lessons in Kidderminster Church when the organ ciphered, and one note went piping on all the time I was reading. It happened that the lesson was Job xxi., and I quite broke down at verse 12. ("They ... rejoice at the sound of the organ.")

When the new vicar went to Cantrip he found Church matters in a very primitive state. After a short time he introduced "Hymns Ancient and Modern." One day one of the farmers met him, and said, "What is this new hymn-book, sir? I don't like it." The vicar, thinking he was in for a theological discussion, said, "What don't you like?" "Why," said the farmer, "I don't like them words." "What words?" "Why, them words as they sing now; I am not used to them." Being pressed as to the particular words, he at last confessed that he never had sung any words at all before, but only "one, two, three, four," and he thought having any words at all a very dangerous innovation.

A Cornish rector had a tickling cough, and was recommended by his doctor to go to Exeter and have his uvula cut, which he did. Some time afterwards another patient, suffering in the same way, applied to the same doctor, who wrote a little note to the rector, asking him who had shortened his uvula, and how it had succeeded. The doctor wrote a very bad hand, and the clergyman read "roller" for "uvula." It happened that he had lately had a stone roller shortened that it might pass through a garden gate, so he wrote back, "Dear sir, it was done by a stonemason in the village. He cut off eighteen inches, and it is now six feet long, and answers thoroughly."

Mr. Burgon had a class of young ladies at Oxford, and had occasion to mention the Targums, when he stopped and said, "By the way, do any of you young ladies know what a Targum is?" One of them replied, "It's a bird with white wings, rather larger than a partridge."

A curate at Witney in 1888 called upon a parishioner for the first time, and found him at home. The man received him with the utmost coolness, proceeded to take down a bust of Disraeli from a shelf, placed it on the table before the curate, and said, "Now, sir, be you for 'im, or be you for t' other un?" This was to determine whether to be friendly or not.

The late Mr. William Lyttelton, Rector of Hagley, told me one day that he had just met an old lady who stammered very badly. She told Mr. Lyttelton that she had just lost a cousin, and, being distressed, had sent for her clergyman to console her. "And what d-d-do you th-think the man d-d-d-d-did, Mr. Lyttelton?" she said. "I'm sure I don't know," he replied. "Why, he read me all ab-b-bout D-d-david and B-b-b-bathsheba! A very g-g-good man, you know, Mr. Lyttelton, b-b-but not j-j-judicious!"

A friend of mine, an Archdeacon, at a dinner of professors at Göttingen, sat by Wieseler, who descanted on the excellence of the English Church, and was especially charmed with what he heard of bishops sinking their personality and becoming known only by the name of their sees. He himself had learnt more from one of them than from any foreign writer: he referred to the great Thomas Carlyle.

The present Vicar of Almondbury went to a barber's shop in Chatham to have his hair cut at the time that he was curate there. The artist asked him if he had known his son at Oxford, and explained that he had meant him for his own profession, but he hadn't the brains for it, so he sent him into the Church.

Transcriber's Notes:

hyphenation, spelling and grammar have been preserved as in the original

Page 9, foun among others ==> found among others

Page 51, trying to the congregration ==> trying to the congregation

Page 67, Answer: Because they didn't ==> Answer: "Because they didn't

Page 58, To this she answered == To this she answered,

Page 82, you wont deceive ==> you won't deceive

Page 87, the same. ==> the same."

Page 89, 'Weel, I must say ==> "Weel, I must say

Page 125, said, ""I've lost ==> said, "I've lost

Page 142, young ladies at at Oxford ==> young ladies at Oxford

Page 143, D-d-d avid ==> D-d-david