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been for the awful sixpenny chromo- before the invention of Voltaireanism. lithographs of the Passion, the bleeding The happiness of some souls appears to wooden Christs, the Madonnas in muslin consist in a sense of vigor and selffrocks and spangles, and all the pious reliance, a power of censuring one's self tawdriness which makes Rother Chapel and one's neighbors; and Protestantism, look like some awful Belgian or Bavarian as austere and Calvinistic and democratic church, I might almost have believed, for as possible, is the right religion for them. the moment, that the lady in question But there are others whose highest spirwould do very wisely to turn Catholic." itual bien être consists in a complete stripping off of all personality, a complete letting themselves passively be swung up and down by a force greater than themselves; and such people ought, I think, to turn Catholic."
"I wonder whether she will?" mused Vere, as they walked slowly across the yielding turf of the common, which seemed, in its yellow greenness, to be saturated with the gleams of sunshine, breaking ever and anon through the film of white cloud against which stood out the dark and massive outline of the pine clumps, the ghostlike array of the larches, and the pale-blue undulation of the distant downs.
"She may or she may not," answered Rheinhardt," that is no concern of mine, any more than what becomes of the actors after an amusing comedy. What is it to us unbelievers whether one more mediocrity be lost by Protestantism, and gained by Catholicism? 'Tis merely the juggler's apple being transferred from the right hand to the left; we may amuse ourselves watching it dancing up and down, and from side to side, and wondering where it will reappear next; that's all."
Vere was fully accustomed, after their three weeks' solitude together, correcting proofs and composing lectures in this south-country farm, to Rheinhardt's optimistic Voltairean levity, his sheer incapacity of conceiving that religion could be a reality to any one, his tendency to regard abstract discussion merely as a delightful exercise for the aristocracy of the intellect, quite apart from any effect upon the thoughts or condition of the less gifted majority. He admired and pitied Rheinhardt, and let himself be amused by his kindly skeptical narrowmindedness.
"Poor woman!" replied Vere, "it does seem a little hard that her soul should be merely an apple to be juggled with for the amusement of Professor Rheinhardt. But, after all, I agree with you that it is of no consequence to us whether she turn Catholic or remain Protestant. The matter concerns only herself, and all is right as long as she settles down in the faith best adapted to her individual spiritual wants. There ought to be as many different religions as there are different sorts of character-religions and irreligions, of course; for I think you, Rheinhardt, would have been miserable had you lived VOL. XLIII, 2195
Rheinhardt looked at Vere with a droll expression of semi-paternal contempt. My dear Vere," he asked, "is it possible that you, at your age, can still believe in such nonsense? Ladies, I admit, may require for their complete happiness to abandon their conscience occasionally into the hands of some saintly person; but do you mean to say that a man in the possession of all his faculties, with plenty to do in the world, with a library of good books, some intelligent friends, a good digestion, and a good theatre when he has a mind to go there, do you mean to tell me that such a man can ever be troubled by the wants of his soul?"
"Such a man as that certainly would not," answered Vere," because the name of such a man would be Hans Rheinhardt."
"It is very odd," remarked Baldwin, "that neither of you seem to consider that the lady's conversion can concern anybody except herself; Rheinhardt looks upon it as a mere piece of juggling; you, Vere, seem to regard it in a kind of æsthetic light, as if the woman ought to choose a religion upon the same principle upon which she would choose a bonnet namely, to get something comfortable and becoming.'
"Surely," interrupted Vere, "the individual soul may be permitted to seek for peace wherever there is most chance of finding it?"
"I don't see at all why the individual soul should have a right to seek for peace regardless of the interests of society at large, any more than why the individual body should have a right to satisfy its cravings regardless of the effect on the rest of mankind," retorted Baldwin. "You cry out against this latter theory as the height of immorality, because it strikes at the root of all respect for mine and thine; but don't you see that your assumed right to gratify your soul undermines, what is quite as important, all feeling of true and
false? The soul is a nobler thing than the body, you will answer. But why is it nobler? Merely because it has greater powers for good and evil, greater duties and responsibilities; and for that very reason it ought to have less right to indulge itself at the expense of what belongs not to it, but to mankind. Truth
in his life, to take some decision which depends upon his having at least under.. stood some of the truths which have been discovered by his betters; and every man is required, and that constantly, to think out individual problems of conduct, for which he will be fit just in proportion as he is in the habit of seeing and striving to see things in their true light. The problems which he has before him may be trifling and may require only a trifling amount of intellect; but of such problems consists the vast bulk of the world's life, and upon their correct decision depends much of the world's improvement."
"Upon my word," put in Rheinhardt, "I don't know which is the greater plague, the old-fashioned nuisance called a soul, or the new-fangled bore called mankind." And he pushed open the gate of the farmgarden, where the cats rolled lazily in the neatly gravelled paths, and the hens ran cackling among the lettuces and the "The world's improvement," answered screens of red-flowered beans. When Rheinhardt, "depends upon everything they entered the little farm-parlor with its being done by the person best fitted to do deep chimney recess, curtained with faded it; the material roads and material machintz, and its bright array of geraniums chinery being made by the men who have and fuchsias on the window-ledge, they the strongest physical muscles and the found that their landlady had prepared best physical eyes, and the intellectual their tea, and covered the table with all roads being cut, and the intellectual mamanner of home-baked cakes and fruit, chinery constructed, by the men who have jugs of freshly cut roses and sweet peas. the best intellectual muscle and sight. "It is quite extraordinary," remarked Therefore, with reference to conversions Rheinhardt, as he poured out the tea, (for I see Baldwin can't get over the pos"that a man of your intelligence, Bald-sible conversion of that particular lady), it win, should go on obstinately supposing that it can matter a jot what opinions are held by people to whom opinions can never be anything vital, but are merely so many half-understood formulæ ; much less that it can matter whether such people believe in one kind of myth rather than in | another. Of course it matters to a man like Monsignore, who, quite apart from any material advantage which every additional believer brings to the Church of which he is a dignitary, is fully persuaded that the probable reward for Protestants are brimstone and flames, which his Evangelical opponents doubtless consider as the special lot of Papists. But what advantage is it to us if this particular mediocrity of a great lady refuses to be converted to the belief in a rather greater number of unintelligible dogmas? Science and philosophy can only gain infinitely by being limited strictly to the really intelligent classes; the less all others presume to think, the better
"Come now," objected Vere, "you are not going to tell me that thought is the privilege of a class, my dear Rheinhardt." "Thought," answered Rheinhardt, "is the privilege of those who are capable of thinking."
"There is thinking and thinking," corrected Baldwin; 66 every man is neither able nor required to think out new truths; but every man is required, at least once
appears to me that the only thing that can possibly concern us in them is, that these conversions should not endanger the liberty of thought of those who can think; and this being gained (which it is, thoroughly, nowadays), that they should not interfere with the limitation of thought to those whose it is by rights. That religious belief is the best which is most conducive to complete intellectual emancipation."
But that is exactly why I am sorry that Monsignore should make any converts!" cried Baldwin.
"And for that reason," continued Rheinhardt, fixing his eyes on Baldwin with obvious enjoyment of the paradox, “I think that we ought to hope that Monsignore may succeed in converting not only this great lady, but as many ladies, great and small, as the world contains. I beg, therefore, to drink to the success of Monsignore, and of all his accomplished, zealous, and fascinating fellow-workers!" And Rheinhardt drank off his cup of tea with mock solemnity.
"Paradoxical as usual, our eighteenthcentury philosopher," laughed Vere, lighting his pipe.
"Not paradoxical in the very least, my dear Vere. Look around you, and compare the degree of emancipation of really thinking minds in Catholic and in Protestant countries: in the first it is complete
-confession, celibacy of clergy, monas- in the minority. The majority may receive an improved position, but it cannot improve itself; so secure the freedom of the minority before thinking of anything else."
ticism, transubstantiation, Papal infallibil ity, Loudres water, and bits of semi-saintly bones in glass jars, as I have seen them in Paris convents, being too much for the patience of an honest and intelligent man who reads his Voltaire and his Renan. With your Protestant your case is different, be he German or English: the Refor mation has got rid of all the things which would stink too manifestly in his nostrils; and he is just able to swallow (in an intellectual wafer which prevents his tasting it) the amount of nonsense the absorption of which is rewarded by a decent social position, or perhaps by a good living or a professorship; meanwhile he may nibble at Darwinism, Positivism, materialism, be quite the man of advanced thought; for, even if he be fully persuaded that the world was not created in six days, and consider Buddha and Socrates quite as divine as Christ, he will yet allow that the lower classes must not be too rudely disturbed in their belief of the story of the apple and its fatal consequences. And this merely because a parcel of men of the sixteenth century, without any scientific reasons for doubt and up to the ears in theology, chose to find that certain Romish dogmas and practices were in. tolerable to their reason and conscience; and therefore invented that disastrous modus vivendi with Semitic and mediæval notions which we call Protestantism. And then we men of the nineteenth century are expected to hold Luther and Calvin centenaries, to make fine speeches and write enthusiastic passages about them, and cry 'Long live religious toleration.' No, no; give me the Council of Trent, the Bull Unigenitus, Loyola, Lainez, and Pascal's Jesuits; give me Lourdes water and silver ex-votos, and slices of the pope's slipper, and Capuchins and Trappistes; give me Monsignore Russell, because in so doing you are giving me Voltaire and Diderot, and Michelet and Auguste
"That is all very well," answered Baldwin, who had been leaning upon the table, eagerly following Rheinhardt's words, and watching for an opportunity of interrupting him; "that's all very well as long as you go upon the supposition that the only thing of value in this world is scientific truth, and the only improvement which can be wished is the increased destruction of error. But there is something more valuable than scientific truth, and that is, the temper which cannot abet falsehood; there is something which it is more urgent to demolish and cart off than mere error, and that is, all the bad moral habits, the habit of relying on other folks' judgment, the habit of not sifting the evil from the good, the habit of letting one's self be moved instead of moving one's self, the habit of sanctifying low things with high names; all the habits of spir itual sloth, spiritual sybaritism, spiritual irresponsibility. In this is the real degradation, the real danger. And Protestantism, which you call a modus vivendi with falsehood, merely because the men of the sixteenth century rose up against only as much error as they themselves could discern, - Protestantism meant the refusal to abet falsehood and foulness, the effort to disentangle good from bad, to replace mysticism by morality; it meant moral and intellectual activity, and completeness, and manliness. It meant that in the sixteenth century; and, say what you will, it means that still nowadays. The men who arose against the Papacy in the time of Luther are naturally not the men who would still be mere Protestants in the days of Comte, and Darwin, and Spencer; as they preceded and dragged on their inferiors then, so they would seek to precede and drag on their inferiors now; they would be, what they were, "But," put in Vere, "you seem by your pioneers of truth, clearers away of error. own account (for you know I don't regard But those who are Protestants nowadaysCatholicism as you do, and I don't think that is to say, possess a religion expunged it matters what a man believes as long as of the more irrational notions and demorhis belief suffices to his soul), to be buy-alizing institutions of the Middle Ages, a ing the total emancipation of a few minds at the expense of the slavery and degradation of an enormous number of men. If Catholicism is so bad that no one who has the option will compromise with it, have you a right to prescribe it to the majority of mankind ?”
"Progress, my dear Vere, exists only
religion less mythological and more ethical- but for the Reformation, would still be morally starving, and from starvation contracting all the loathsome moral diseases and degrading moral palsies which we observe in the Catholic forefathers before Luther, in their Catholic contemporaries of Spain, and Italy, and France.
great landed proprietor, or a great manufacturer, or any other sort of modern leader of men, I should certainly feel bound to put every obstacle in the way of a conversion of my tenants and operatives by a man like Monsignore; I should feel as if they were going to sell their solid and well-drained cottages in order to live in mere mud cabins without drains and without chimneys. But when it comes to the upper classes, to those who have a certain secured intellectual life, the case would be different." And Vere puffed away at his pipe, as if he had settled the question.
The Reformation may have done nothing | Italian, and Austrian peasants, that, spir for the thinking minority, it may even, as itually, they live in something between a Rheinhardt insists, have made that mi- drain and a cellar. So that, if I were a nority smaller, but to the small minority the Reformation gave a vast majority, which is not, as in Catholic countries, separated from it by an unbridgeable gulf. The number of completely emancipated minds may be less in Protestant countries; but behind them is a large number of minds which are yet far from being utterly cramped and maimed and impotent, which have not gone very far on the right road, but have not gone far on the wrong one; minds possessing at least rudimentary habits of inquiry, of discrimination, of secular morality, and which, little by lit tle, may be influenced, improved, enfranchised, by those who are more fully developed and more completely free. This is what Protestantism has done for us; and the highest thing that we can do, is to follow in the steps of those first Protestants, to clear away what appears to be error in our eyes, as they cleared away what appeared to be error in theirs."
"The Reformation," persisted Rheinhardt calmly, was a piece of intellectual socialism. It consisted in dividing truth so that each man might have a little scrap of it for himself, and in preventing all increase by abolishing all large intellectual capital."
Really," cried Baldwin, "I don't see at all why you should be indifferent to the aristocracy of intellect (as Rheinhardt calls it) living in what you describe as a spiritual dwelling partaking of the cellar and of the drain.'
"I am not indifferent," answered Vere, "but I see that a certain standard of intellectual and moral wealth having now been attained, there is not the faintest chance of a man living in a cellar or a drain. Given a certain amount of intelligence and culture, which one may nearly always assume among our educated classes, our spiritual dwellings are sure to be "I have never doubted," remarked quite healthy enough; and I can't see, Vere, "that the Reformation was, for all therefore, why each man should not be the paradoxes of this Voltairean of ours, permitted to build his house to please his a most necessary and useful revolution. fancy, and fill it with whatever things may It swept away and this is what I most give him most pleasure. He is doing no regret the last shreds of pagan purple, harm to anybody, and no one has any the last half-withered flowers of pagan right to interfere with him. Oh, I know fancy, out of Christianity, and left it a you, Baldwin! you would be for forcing whitewashed utilitarian thing - a Metho- your way into a man's spiritual house and dist chapel, well ventilated and well insisting (with a troup of Positivistic warmed, but singularly like a railway wait-licemen and sanitary inspectors at your ing-room or a warehouse. But of course heels) that every room must have a given such a consideration can have no weight. number of cubic feet of air and a given Protestantism (excuse my confusion of number of windows, and that wall-papers metaphors) may be called the spiritual must be made to wash, flowers be careenfranchisement of the servile classes; fully restricted to the hot-house, and that it turned, as Baldwin says, a herd of an equal temperature, never rising much slaves and serfs into well-to-do artisans above the moral and intellectual freezingand shopkeepers. I think, therefore, that point, should be kept up. Now, I happen Protestantism was an unmitigated bless- to consider that this visit of yours, aling for what Rheinhardt calls the intel- though most benevolent, would be a quite lectual proletariat, for the people who unjustifiable intrusion; and that you neither increase intellectual wealth nor would not have the smallest right to tear enjoy intellectual luxury. There is some down the curtains of a man who enjoys a thing as beautiful in the rough cleanness subdued light, still less to pitch his flow. of belief of a Scotch or Swiss artisan as ers and incense-burners out of his bedthere is in a well-scoured deal table and a room window. Joking apart, I think there spotless homespun napkin; and I often is no greater mistake than to interfere have felt, talking with certain French, with the beliefs of people who belong to
a class which has secured quite enough spiritual freedom; let them satisfy their own nature, and remember that the imag. inative and emotional wants, the spiritual enjoyments of each man, are different from those of his neighbor- "2
"That is exactly my view," put in Rheinhardt: "let the imbeciles keep out of my way, and I certainly won't get into theirs. Let us enjoy our own intellectual ambrosia, and leave them to their beer and porridge, which they think every bit as nice;" and he threw his cigarette into the fire.
"Why not?" asked Rheinhardt, "'tis the height of wisdom; and for that reason, indeed, cannot be your idea, Vere."
"You are not an advocate of this theory when applied by fashionable_numskulls, certainly, my dear Vere. Of the men who think of nothing but enjoying themselves by eating dinners at a guinea a head, sitting up till six in the morning in ballrooms or playing cards at the club, driving four-in-hand, and having wives dressed out by Wörth and collections of bad pictures and apocryphal bric-à-brac ; of such men, or rather beings, you have as bad an opinion as myself. Indeed, I dare say, you have a considerably worse one than I have, because I am always ready to admit that the poor devils whom we revile as the corrupt of the world, are in reality acting for the best according to their lights, being totally unable to con
"I understand," said Baldwin, overlooking Rheinhardt's remark, and addressing himself directly to Vere, "according to you the class which possesses the highest intellectual life, has, like the governing social body, a right and an obligation to interfere in the spiritual mode of life of such classes as might, if left to them-ceive of a higher mode of existence or a selves, become a public nuisance."
"That is rather a hard way of putting it," answered Vere, "but such, in the main, is my principle."
more glorious destiny. But the case changes when a man's leisure consists not merely in his no longer being required to earn his bread, but in no longer requir ing to free his mind from the painful restrictions and necessities of former days; when his inherited wealth consists not merely in estates and cash, but in intellect and knowledge. What are we to think of this new sort of favorite of fortune, if he employ that intellectual leisure and those intellectual riches merely in feeding his mind with exotic spiritual dainties (among which, even as with the more material
"You wish your lower classes to be Protestant for the same reason that you would wish your lower classes to live in sanitary-regulation houses, because a condition of spiritual darkness and dirt would produce nasty spiritual diseases, which might spread to your upper class, and would at all events fill the streets with sights and smells quite unendurable to your upper class, which is of course as æsthetical as it is humane. The unfortu-epicure, rottenness constitutes a great atnate hardworking creatures who save us from manual labor must be looked after and taught how to be decent, spiritually as well as physically, both for their own sake and for ours. So far I completely follow your ideas. But I confess my ina bility to follow, in the sense of understanding its justifiableness, the rest of your theory. From your manner of speaking, and your allusion to men building their spiritual homes to suit their fancy, and excluding the light and scenting the air as they please, I presume that in your opinion a man who has inherited the means of living in leisure, untroubled by the necessity of earning his bread or of liberating his conscience (his ancestors having given their labor and their blood for that), need think of nothing beyond making his life as agreeable as possible to himself."
"I wonder, Baldwin, you can be so grotesque as to suppose that I am an advocate of anything of the sort," interrupted | Vere rather angrily.
traction); in playing games of chance with his own beliefs and emotions; in bedecking himself and attitudinizing in the picturesque rags and tags of effete modes of feeling and antiquated modes of thought, because he enjoys making himself look interesting, and enjoys writing sonnet sketches of his poor maimed and crippled soul decked out in becoming purple, and gray and saffron and sad green of paganism, and asceticism, and Baudelaireism, and Schopenhauerism; what shall we say of the man who does this, while nine-tenths of his fellow-men are slaving at mechanical labor; who refuses to employ his leisure and his powers in doing that other kind of work without which mankind cannot exist, the work of sowing and grinding the grain which must make the spiritual bread of the world? To me it seems as if this man were but a subtler and less conscious robber; keeping in barren mortmain, even as the clergy before the Revolution kept the fruitful acres of France, that which ought to keep and strengthen