I am perfectly aware that this is a terriblysensational book, and open

to innumerable criticisms on that account, as well as on many others.

But I did not know how else to express the principles I desired (and

which I passionately believe to be true) except by producing their lines

to a sensational point. I have tried, however, not to scream unduly

loud, and to retain, so far as possible, reverence and consideration for

the opinions of other people. Whether I have succeeded in that attempt

is quite another matter.

Robert Hugh Benson.










Persons who do not like tiresome prologues, need not read this one. It

is essential only to the situation, not to the story.


"You must give me a moment," said the old man, leaning back.

Percy resettled himself in his chair and waited, chin on hand.

It was a very silent room in which the three men sat, furnished with the

extreme common sense of the period. It had neither window nor door; for

it was now sixty years since the world, recognising that space is not

confined to the surface of the globe, had begun to burrow in earnest.

Old Mr. Templeton's house stood some forty feet below the level of the

Thames embankment, in what was considered a somewhat commodious

position, for he had only a hundred yards to walk before he reached the

station of the Second Central Motor-circle, and a quarter of a mile to

the volor-station at Blackfriars. He was over ninety years old, however,

and seldom left his house now. The room itself was lined throughout with

the delicate green jade-enamel prescribed by the Board of Health, and

was suffused with the artificialsunlight discovered by the great Reuter

forty years before; it had the colour-tone of a spring wood, and was

warmed and ventilated through the classicalfriezegrating to the exact

temperature of 18 degrees Centigrade. Mr. Templeton was a plain man,

content to live as his father had lived before him. The furniture, too,

was a little old-fashioned in make and design, constructed however

according to the prevailingsystem of soft asbestos enamel welded over

iron, indestructible, pleasant to the touch, and resembling mahogany. A

couple of book-cases well filled ran on either side of the bronze

pedestal electric fire before which sat the three men; and in the

further corners stood the hydraulic lifts that gave entrance, the one to

the bedroom, the other to the corridor fifty feet up which opened on to

the Embankment.

Father Percy Franklin, the elder of the two priests, was rather a

remarkable-looking man, not more than thirty-five years old, but with

hair that was white throughout; his grey eyes, under black eyebrows,

were peculiarly bright and almost passionate; but his prominent nose and

chin and the extreme decisiveness of his mouth reassured the observer as

to his will. Strangers usually looked twice at him.

Father Francis, however, sitting in his upright chair on the other side

of the hearth, brought down the average; for, though his brown eyes were

pleasant and pathetic, there was no strength in his face; there was even

a tendency to femininemelancholy in the corners of his mouth and the

marked droop of his eyelids.

Mr. Templeton was just a very old man, with a strong face in folds,

clean-shaven like the rest of the world, and was now lying back on his

water-pillows with the quilt over his feet.

* * * * *

At last he spoke, glancing first at Percy, on his left.

"Well," he said, "it is a great business to remember exactly; but this

is how I put it to myself."

"In England our party was first seriously alarmed at the Labour

Parliament of 1917. That showed us how deeply Herveism had impregnated

the whole social atmosphere. There had been Socialists before, but none

like Gustave Herve in his old age--at least no one of the same power.

He, perhaps you have read, taught absolute Materialism and Socialism

developed to their logical issues. Patriotism, he said, was a relic of

barbarism; and sensual enjoyment was the only certain good. Of course,

every one laughed at him. It was said that without religion there could

be no adequatemotive among the masses for even the simplest social

order. But he was right, it seemed. After the fall of the French Church

at the beginning of the century and the massacres of 1914, the

bourgeoisie settled down to organise itself; and that extraordinary

movement began in earnest, pushed through by the middle classes, with no

patriotism, no class distinctions, practically no army. Of course,

Freemasonry directed it all. This spread to Germany, where the influence

of Karl Marx had already---"

"Yes, sir," put in Percy smoothly, "but what of England, if you don't


"Ah, yes; England. Well, in 1917 the Labour party gathered up the reins,

and Communism really began. That was long before I can remember, of

course, but my father used to date it from then. The only wonder was

that things did not go forward more quickly; but I suppose there was a

good deal of Tory leaven left. Besides, centuries generally run slower

than is expected, especially after beginning with an impulse. But the

new order began then; and the Communists have never suffered a serious

reverse since, except the little one in '25. Blenkin founded 'The New

People' then; and the 'Times' dropped out; but it was not, strangely

enough, till '35 that the House of Lords fell for the last time. The

Established Church had gone finally in '29."

"And the religious effect of that?" asked Percy swiftly, as the old man

paused to cough slightly, lifting his inhaler. The priest was anxious to

keep to the point.

"It was an effect itself," said the other, "rather than a cause. You

see, the Ritualists, as they used to call them, after a desperate

attempt to get into the Labour swim, came into the Church after the

Convocation of '19, when the Nicene Creed dropped out; and there was no

real enthusiasm except among them. But so far as there was an effect

from the final Disestablishment, I think it was that what was left of

the State Church melted into the Free Church, and the Free Church was,

after all, nothing more than a little sentiment. The Bible was

completely given up as an authority after the renewed German attacks in

the twenties; and the Divinity of our Lord, some think, had gone all but

in name by the beginning of the century. The Kenotic theory had provided

for that. Then there was that strange little movement among the Free

Churchmen even earlier; when ministers who did no more than follow the

swim--who were sensitive to draughts, so to speak--broke off from their

old positions. It is curious to read in the history of the time how they

were hailed as independent thinkers. It was just exactly what they were

not.... Where was I? Oh, yes.... Well, that cleared the ground for us,

and the Church made extraordinary progress for a while--extraordinary,

that is, under the circumstances, because you must remember, things were

very different from twenty, or even ten, years before. I mean that,

roughly speaking, the severing of the sheep and the goats had begun. The

religious people were practically all Catholics and Individualists; the

irreligious people rejected the supernatural altogether, and were, to a

man, Materialists and Communists. But we made progress because we had a

few exceptional men--Delaney the philosopher, McArthur and Largent, the

philanthropists, and so on. It really seemed as if Delaney and his

disciples might carry everything before them. You remember his

'Analogy'? Oh, yes, it is all in the text-books....

"Well, then, at the close of the Vatican Council, which had been called

in the nineteenth century, and never dissolved, we lost a great number

through the final definitions. The 'Exodus of the Intellectuals' the

world called it---"

"The Biblical decisions," put in the younger priest.

"That partly; and the whole conflict that began with the rise of

Modernism at the beginning of the century but much more the condemnation

of Delaney, and of the New Transcendentalism generally, as it was then

understood. He died outside the Church, you know. Then there was the

condemnation of Sciotti's book on Comparative Religion.... After that

the Communists went on by strides, although by very slow ones. It seems

extraordinary to you, I dare say, but you cannot imagine the excitement

when the _Necessary Trades Bill_ became law in '60. People thought that

all enterprise would stop when so many professions were nationalised;

but, you know, it didn't. Certainly the nation was behind it."

"What year was the _Two-Thirds Majority Bill_ passed?" asked Percy.

"Oh! long before--within a year or two of the fall of the House of

Lords. It was necessary, I think, or the Individualists would have gone

raving mad.... Well, the _Necessary Trades Bill_ was inevitable: people

had begun to see that even so far back as the time when the railways

were municipalised. For a while there was a burst of art; because all

the Individualists who could went in for it (it was then that the Toller

school was founded); but they soon drifted back into Government

employment; after all, the six-per-cent limit for all individual

enterprise was not much of a temptation; and Government paid well."

Percy shook his head.

"Yes; but I cannot understand the present state of affairs. You said

just now that things went slowly?"

"Yes," said the old man, "but you must remember the Poor Laws. That

established the Communists for ever. Certainly Braithwaite knew his


The younger priest looked up inquiringly.

"The abolition of the old workhouse system," said Mr. Templeton. "It is

all ancient history to you, of course; but I remember as if it was

yesterday. It was that which brought down what was still called the

Monarchy and the Universities."

"Ah," said Percy. "I should like to hear you talk about that, sir."

"Presently, father.... Well, this is what Braithwaite did. By the old

system all paupers were treated alike, and resented it. By the new

system there were the three grades that we have now, and the

enfranchisement of the two higher grades. Only the absolutely worthless

were assigned to the third grade, and treated more or less as

criminals--of course after careful examination. Then there was the

reorganisation of the Old Age Pensions. Well, don't you see how strong

that made the Communists? The Individualists--they were still called

Tories when I was a boy--the Individualists have had no chance since.

They are no more than a worn-out drag now. The whole of the working

classes--and that meant ninety-nine of a hundred--were all against


Percy looked up; but the other went on.

"Then there was the Prison Reform Bill under Macpherson, and the

abolition of capital punishment; there was the final Education Act of

'59, whereby dogmatic secularism was established; the practical

abolition of inheritance under the reformation of the Death Duties---"

"I forget what the old system was," said Percy.

"Why, it seems incredible, but the old system was that all paid alike.

First came the Heirloom Act, and then the change by which inherited

wealth paid three times the duty of earned wealth, leading up to the

acceptance of Karl Marx's doctrines in '89--but the former came in

'77.... Well, all these things kept England up to the level of the

Continent; she had only been just in time to join in with the final

scheme of Western Free Trade. That was the first effect, you remember,

of the Socialists' victory in Germany."

"And how did we keep out of the Eastern War?" asked Percy anxiously.

"Oh! that's a long story; but, in a word, America stopped us; so we lost

India and Australia. I think that was the nearest to the downfall of the

Communists since '25. But Braithwaite got out of it very cleverly by

getting us the protectorate of South Africa once and for all. He was an

old man then, too."

Mr. Templeton stopped to cough again. Father Francis sighed and shifted

in his chair.

"And America?" asked Percy.

"Ah! all that is very complicated. But she knew her strength and annexed

Canada the same year. That was when we were at our weakest."

Percy stood up.

"Have you a Comparative Atlas, sir?" he asked.

The old man pointed to a shelf.

"There," he said.

* * * * *

Percy looked at the sheets a minute or two in silence, spreading them on

his knees.

"It is all much simpler, certainly," he murmured, glancing first at the

old complicatedcolouring of the beginning of the twentieth century, and

then at the three great washes of the twenty-first.

He moved his finger along Asia. The words EASTERN EMPIRE ran across the

pale yellow, from the Ural Mountains on the left to the Behring Straits

on the right, curling round in giant letters through India, Australia,

and New Zealand. He glanced at the red; it was considerably smaller, but

still important enough, considering that it covered not only Europe

proper, but all Russia up to the Ural Mountains, and Africa to the

south. The blue-labelled AMERICAN REPUBLIC swept over the whole of that

continent, and disappeared right round to the left of the Western

Hemisphere in a shower of blue sparks on the white sea.

"Yes, it's simpler," said the old man drily.

Percy shut the book and set it by his chair.

"And what next, sir? What will happen?"

The old Tory statesman smiled.

"God knows," he said. "If the Eastern Empire chooses to move, we can do

nothing. I don't know why they have not moved. I suppose it is because

of religious differences."

"Europe will not split?" asked the priest.

"No, no. We know our danger now. And America would certainly help us.

But, all the same, God help us--or you, I should rather say--if the

Empire does move! She knows her strength at last."

There was silence for a moment or two. A faint vibration trembled

through the deep-sunk room as some huge machine went past on the broad

boulevard overhead.

"Prophesy, sir," said Percy suddenly. "I mean about religion."

Mr. Templeton inhaled another long breath from his instrument. Then

again he took up his discourse.

"Briefly," he said, "there are three forces--Catholicism,

Humanitarianism, and the Eastern religions. About the third I cannot

prophesy, though I think the Sufis will be victorious. Anything may

happen; Esotericism is making enormous strides--and that means

Pantheism; and the blending of the Chinese and Japanese dynasties throws

out all our calculations. But in Europe and America, there is no doubt

that the struggle lies between the other two. We can neglect everything

else. And, I think, if you wish me to say what I think, that, humanly

speaking, Catholicism will decrease rapidly now. It is perfectly true

  • terribly [´terəbli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.可怕地   (初中英语单词)
  • account [ə´kaunt] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.说明 vt.认为 n.帐目   (初中英语单词)
  • scream [skri:m] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.尖叫(声)   (初中英语单词)
  • retain [ri´tein] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.保持;保留;留住   (初中英语单词)
  • consideration [kən,sidə´reiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.考虑;原因;体谅   (初中英语单词)
  • essential [i´senʃəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.必需的 n.要素,要点   (初中英语单词)
  • delicate [´delikət] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.精美的;微妙的   (初中英语单词)
  • artificial [,ɑ:ti´fiʃəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.人工的;模拟的   (初中英语单词)
  • sunlight [´sʌnlait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.日光   (初中英语单词)
  • old-fashioned [´əuld´feʃənd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.老式的;过时的   (初中英语单词)
  • system [´sistəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.系统,体系,制度   (初中英语单词)
  • prominent [´prɔminənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.突起的;凸出的   (初中英语单词)
  • extreme [ik´stri:m] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.尽头的 n.极端   (初中英语单词)
  • observer [əb´zə:və] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.遵守者;观察员   (初中英语单词)
  • tendency [´tendənsi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.趋势;倾向   (初中英语单词)
  • seriously [´siəriəsli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.严肃;严重,重大   (初中英语单词)
  • atmosphere [´ætməsfiə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.大气;空气;气氛   (初中英语单词)
  • absolute [´æbsəlu:t] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.绝对的 n.绝对   (初中英语单词)
  • adequate [´ædikwit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.足够的;适当的   (初中英语单词)
  • motive [´məutiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.动机;主题 a.运动的   (初中英语单词)
  • beginning [bi´giniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开始,开端;起源   (初中英语单词)
  • earnest [´ə:nist] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.认真的 n.认真;诚恳   (初中英语单词)
  • impulse [´impʌls] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.推动(力);冲动;刺激   (初中英语单词)
  • swiftly [´swiftli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.迅速地,敏捷地   (初中英语单词)
  • slightly [´slaitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.轻微地;细长的   (初中英语单词)
  • priest [pri:st] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.教士;牧师;神父   (初中英语单词)
  • anxious [´æŋkʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.担忧的;渴望的   (初中英语单词)
  • enthusiasm [in´θju:ziæzəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.热心;狂热;爱好   (初中英语单词)
  • sentiment [´sentimənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.情绪;多愁善感   (初中英语单词)
  • movement [´mu:vmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.活动;运动;动作   (初中英语单词)
  • extraordinary [ik´strɔ:dinəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.非常的;额外的   (初中英语单词)
  • altogether [,ɔ:ltə´geðə] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.完全;总而言之   (初中英语单词)
  • partly [´pɑ:tli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.部分地;不完全地   (初中英语单词)
  • conflict [´kɔnflikt, kən´flikt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&vi.战斗;抵触   (初中英语单词)
  • comparative [kəm´pærətiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.比较的 n.匹敌者   (初中英语单词)
  • enterprise [´entəpraiz] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.企业;雄心;胆识   (初中英语单词)
  • absolutely [´æbsəlu:tli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.绝对地;确实   (初中英语单词)
  • examination [ig,zæmi´neiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.检查;考试;检验   (初中英语单词)
  • reform [ri´fɔ:m] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.改革;改良;革除   (初中英语单词)
  • punishment [´pʌniʃmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.罚,刑罚   (初中英语单词)
  • wealth [welθ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.财富,财产   (初中英语单词)
  • western [´westən] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.西的;西方的   (初中英语单词)
  • victory [´viktəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.胜利,战胜   (初中英语单词)
  • complicated [´kɔmplikeitid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.结构复杂的;难懂的   (初中英语单词)
  • pointed [´pɔintid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.尖(锐)的;中肯的   (初中英语单词)
  • republic [ri´pʌblik] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.共和国;共和政体   (初中英语单词)
  • shower [´ʃauə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.展出者;阵雨;淋浴   (初中英语单词)
  • statesman [´steitsmən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.政治家,国务活动家   (初中英语单词)
  • breath [breθ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.呼吸;气息   (初中英语单词)
  • instrument [´instrumənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.仪器;手段;乐器   (初中英语单词)
  • enormous [i´nɔ:məs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.巨大地,很,极   (初中英语单词)
  • neglect [ni´glekt] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.&n.疏忽;忽视;忽略   (初中英语单词)
  • decrease [di´kri:s, ´di:kri:s] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.减少;减退   (初中英语单词)
  • perfectly [´pə:fiktli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.理想地;完美地   (高中英语单词)
  • innumerable [i´nju:mərəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无数的,数不清的   (高中英语单词)
  • reverence [´revərəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.尊敬;敬畏;尊严   (高中英语单词)
  • burrow [´bʌrəu] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.洞穴 v.(打)洞;查阅   (高中英语单词)
  • corridor [´kɔridɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.走廊;指定航路   (高中英语单词)
  • passionate [´pæʃənit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.易动情的;易怒的   (高中英语单词)
  • upright [´ʌprait] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.直立的 ad.直立地   (高中英语单词)
  • hearth [hɑ:θ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.炉边;家庭(生活)   (高中英语单词)
  • melancholy [´melənkəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.忧郁 a.忧郁的   (高中英语单词)
  • enjoyment [in´dʒɔimənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.享受;愉快;乐趣   (高中英语单词)
  • smoothly [´smu:ðli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.光滑地;顺利地   (高中英语单词)
  • communism [´kɔmjunizəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.共产主义   (高中英语单词)
  • sensitive [´sensitiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.敏感的;感光的   (高中英语单词)
  • philosopher [fi´lɔsəfə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.哲学家;思想家;哲人   (高中英语单词)
  • inevitable [i´nevitəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不可避免的   (高中英语单词)
  • temptation [temp´teiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.引诱,诱惑(物)   (高中英语单词)
  • abolition [,æbə´liʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.废除;废止   (高中英语单词)
  • inheritance [in´heritəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.继承(物);遗传;遗产   (高中英语单词)
  • incredible [in´kredəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不能相信的;惊人的   (高中英语单词)
  • considerably [kən´sidərəbli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.显著地;十分   (高中英语单词)
  • victorious [vik´tɔ:riəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.得胜的,胜利的   (高中英语单词)
  • passionately [´pæʃənitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.多情地;热烈地   (英语四级单词)
  • tiresome [´taiəsəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.令人厌倦的;讨厌的   (英语四级单词)
  • classical [´klæsikəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.经典的;传统的   (英语四级单词)
  • grating [´greitiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.格栅 a.刺耳的   (英语四级单词)
  • enamel [i´næm(ə)l] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.搪瓷;珐琅   (英语四级单词)
  • mahogany [mə´hɔgəni] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.红木;桃花心木   (英语四级单词)
  • peculiarly [pi´kju:liəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.特有地;古怪地   (英语四级单词)
  • pathetic [pə´θetik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可怜的;悲哀的   (英语四级单词)
  • feminine [´feminin] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.女性的   (英语四级单词)
  • logical [´lɔdʒikəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.逻辑(上)的   (英语四级单词)
  • divinity [di´viniti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.神性,神;神学   (英语四级单词)
  • exceptional [ik´sepʃənəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.异常的,特别的   (英语四级单词)
  • whereby [weə´bai] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.凭什么;靠那个   (英语四级单词)
  • considering [kən´sidəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.就…而论   (英语四级单词)
  • vibration [vai´breiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.颤动;振动;摇动   (英语四级单词)
  • sensational [sen´seiʃənəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.感觉的;轰动的   (英语六级单词)
  • frieze [fri:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(墙上的)横饰带   (英语六级单词)
  • prevailing [pri´veiliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.占优势的;主要的   (英语六级单词)
  • leaven [´levən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.发醇剂 vt.发生影响   (英语六级单词)
  • speaking [´spi:kiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.说话 a.发言的   (英语六级单词)
  • downfall [´daunfɔ:l] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.落下;垮台   (英语六级单词)
  • colouring [´kʌləriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.色彩;外貌;伪装   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:53:13
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