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MRS. FARRANT. Mamma, have you ever discussed so-called anti-Christian
science with Lord Charles?
FRANCES TREBELL ... Cantelupe?
MRS. FARRANT. Yes. It was over appointing a teacher for the schools down
here ... he was staying with us. The Vicar's his fervent disciple. However,
we were consulted.
LUCY DAVENPORT. Didn't Lord Charles want you to send the boys there till
they were ready for Harrow?
MRS. FARRANT. Yes.
FRANCES TREBELL. Quite the last thing in Toryism!
MRS. FARRANT. Mamma made George say we were too _nouveau riche_ to risk it.
LADY DAVENPORT. [_As she laughs._] I couldn't resist that.
MRS. FARRANT. [_Catching something of her subject's dry driving manner._]
Lord Charles takes the superior line and says ... that with his consent the
Church may teach the unalterable Truth in scientific language or legendary,
whichever is easier understanded of the people.
LADY DAVENPORT. Is it the prospect of Disestablishment suddenly makes him so
FRANCES TREBELL. [_With large contempt._] He needn't be. The majority of
people believe the world was made in an English week.
LUCY DAVENPORT. Oh, no!
FRANCES TREBELL. No Bishop dare deny it.
MRS. FARRANT. [_From the heights of experience._] Dear Lucy, do you
seriously think that the English spirit--the nerve that runs down the
backbone--is disturbed by new theology ... or new anything?
LADY DAVENPORT. [_Enjoying her epigram._] What a waste of persecution
history shows us!
WALTER KENT _now captures the conversation with a very young
WALTER KENT. Once they're disestablished they must make up their minds what
they do believe.
LADY DAVENPORT. I presume Lord Charles thinks it'll hand the Church over to
him and his ... dare I say 'Sect'?
WALTER KENT. Won't it? He knows what he wants.
MRS. FARRANT. [_Subtly._] There's the election to come yet.
WALTER KENT. But now both parties are pledged to a bill of some sort.
MRS. FARRANT. Political prophecies have a knack of not coming true; but,
d'you know, Cyril Horsham warned me to watch this position developing ...
nearly four years ago.
FRANCES TREBELL. Sitting on the opposition bench sharpens the eye-sight.
WALTER KENT. [_Ironically._] Has he been pleased with the prospect?
MRS. FARRANT. [_With perfect diplomacy_] If the Church must be
disestablished ... better done by its friends than its enemies.
FRANCES TREBELL. Still I don't gather he's pleased with his dear cousin
MRS. FARRANT. [_Shrugging._] Oh, lately, Lord Charles has never concealed
FRANCES TREBELL. And that speech at Leeds was the crowning move I suppose;
just asking the Nonconformists to bring things to a head?
MRS. FARRANT. [_Judicially._] I think that was precipitate.
WALTER KENT. [_Giving them_ LORD CHARLES'S _oratory._] Gentlemen, in these
latter days of Radical opportunism!--You know, I was there ... sitting next
to an old gentleman who shouted "Jesuit."
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