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05-Jun-2016 03:04

Nothing quite like it at least can be found in England; nothing in the least like it, I fancy, was ever found in America.One peculiarity of this middle-class was that it really was a class and it really was in the middle.I remember that it once created a comedy of cross-purposes, which could hardly have occurred unless there had been some such secret self-congratulation upon any accretion of local status.The incident is in more ways than one a glimpse of the tone and talk of those distant days.And I may remark in passing that, having lived to see Mafeking Night and the later Jingo lyrics, I have retained a considerable respect for those old and pompous patriotic songs.

This particular sort of unobtrusive pride was very characteristic of this sort of older business men.I cannot help having a dim suspicion that dignity has something to do with style; but anyhow the gestures, like the songs, of my grandfather's time and type had a good deal to do with dignity.But, used as he was to ceremonial manners, he must have been a good deal mystified by a strange gentleman who entered the office and, having conferred with my father briefly on business, asked in a hushed voice if he might have the high privilege of being presented to the more ancient or ancestral head of the firm.But a light began to break on my father, who had thought his way through all the High Church and Broad Church movements and was well-read in such things.

He suddenly remembered the case of "Westerton versus Liddell" in which a Protestant churchwarden prosecuted a parson for one of the darker crimes of Popery, possibly wearing a surplice.

"And I only hope," went on the stranger firmly, still addressing the Protestant Champion, "that the services at the Parish Church are now conducted in a manner of which you approve." My grandfather observed in a genial manner that he didn't care how they were conducted.