`Of course, my ideas are still unshaped, and all will depend upon the men by whom the college is first worked. I am not yet a priest, but Pryer is, and if I were to start the college, Pryer might take charge of it for a time and I work under him nominally as his subordinate. Pryer himself suggested this. Is it not generous of him?

`The worst of it is that we have not enough money; I have, it is true, £5,000, but we want at least £10,000, so Pryer says, before we can start; when we are fairly under way I might live at the college and draw a salary from the foundation, so that it is all one, or nearly so, whether I invest my money in this way or in buying a living; besides, I want very little; it is certain that I shall never marry; no clergyman should think of this, and an unmarried man can live on next to nothing. Still I do not see my way to as much money as I want, and Pryer suggests that as we can hardly earn more now we must get it by a judicious series of investments. Pryer knows several people who make quite a handsome income out of very little or, indeed, I may say, nothing at all, by buying things at a place they call the Stock Exchange; I don't know much about it yet, but Pryer says I should soon learn; he thinks, indeed, that I have shown rather a talent in this direction, and under proper auspices should make a very good man of business. Others, of course, and not I, must decide this; but a man can do anything if he gives his mind to it, and though I should not care about having more money for my own sake, I care about it very much when I think of the good I could do with it by saving souls from such horrible torture hereafter. Why, if the thing succeeds, and I really cannot see what is to hinder it, it is hardly possible to exaggerate its importance, nor the proportions which it may ultimately assume,' etc., etc.

Again I asked Ernest whether he minded my printing this. He winced, but said `No, not if it helps you to tell your story: but don't you think it is too long?'

I said it would let the reader see for himself how things were going in half the time that it would take me to explain them to him.

`Very well then, keep it by all means.'

I continue turning over my file of Ernest's letters and find as follows:

`Thanks for your last, in answer to which I send you a rough copy of a letter I sent to the Times a day or two back. They did not insert it, but it embodies pretty fully my ideas on the parochial visitation question, and Pryer fully approves of the letter. Think it carefully over and send it back to me when read, for it is so exactly my present creed that I cannot afford to lose it.

`I should very much like to have a viva voce discussion on these matters: I can only see for certain that we have suffered a dreadful loss in being no longer able to excommunicate. We should excommunicate rich and poor alike, and pretty freely too. If this power were restored to us we could, I think, soon put a stop to by far the greater part of the sin and misery with which we are surrounded.'

These letters were written only a few weeks after Ernest had been ordained, but they are nothing to others that he wrote a little later on.

In his eagerness to regenerate the Church of England (and through this the universe) by the means which Pryer had suggested to him, it occurred to him to try to familiarize himself with the habits and thoughts of the poor by going and living among them. I think he got this notion from Kingsley's Alton Locke, which, High Churchman though he for the nonce was, he had devoured as he had devoured Stanley's Life of Arnold, Dickens's novels, and whatever other literary garbage of the day was most likely to do him harm; at any rate he actually put his scheme into practice, and took lodgings in Ashpit Place, a small street in the neighbourhood of Drury Lane Theatre, in a house of which the landlady was the widow of a cabman.

This lady occupied the whole ground floor. In the front kitchen there was a tinker. The back kitchen was let to a bellows-mender. On the first floor came Ernest, with his two rooms which he furnished comfortably,

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