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Brother Copas   By: (1863-1944)

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E text prepared by Lionel Sear

BROTHER COPAS

by

ARTHUR THOMAS QUILLER COUCH.

1911

TO THE GENTLE READER.

In a former book of mine, Sir John Constantine , I expressed (perhaps extravagantly) my faith in my fellows and in their capacity to treat life as a noble sport. In Brother Copas I try to express something of that corellative scorn which must come sooner or later to every man who puts his faith into practice.. I have that faith still; but that

"He who would love his fellow men Must not expect too much of them"

is good counsel if bad rhyme. I can only hope that both the faith and the scorn are sound at the core.

For the rest, I wish to state that St. Hospital is a society which never existed. I have borrowed for it certain features from the Hospital of St. Cross, near Winchester. I have invented a few external and all the internal ones. My "College of Noble Poverty" harbours abuses from which, I dare to say, that nobler institution is entirely free. St Hospital has no existence at all outside of my imagining.

ARTHUR QUILLER COUCH.

The Haven, Fowey. February 16th, 1911.

"And a little Child shall lead them." ISAIAH xi. 6.

CONTENTS.

Chapter

I. THE MASTER OF ST. HOSPITAL.

II. THE COLLEGE OF NOBLE POVERTY.

III. BROTHER COPAS HOOKS A FISH.

IV. CORONA COMES.

V. BROTHER COPAS ON RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES.

VI. GAUDY DAY.

VII. LOW AND HIGH TABLES.

VIII. A PEACE OFFERING.

IX. BY MERE RIVER.

X. THE ANONYMOUS LETTER.

XI. BROTHER COPAS ON THE ANGLO SAXON.

XII. MR. ISIDORE TAKES CHARGE.

XIII. GARDEN AND LAUNDRY.

XIV. BROTHER COPAS ON THE HOUSE OF LORDS.

XV. CANARIES AND GREATCOATS.

XVI. THE SECOND LETTER.

XVII. PUPPETS.

XVIII. THE PERVIGILIUM.

XVIX. MERCHESTER PREPARES.

XX. NAUGHTINESS, AND A SEQUEL.

XXI. RECONCILIATION.

XXII. MR. SIMEON MAKES A CLEAN BREAST.

XXIII. CORONA'S BIRTHDAY.

XXIV. FINIS CORONAT OPUS.

CONCLUSION.

BROTHER COPAS.

CHAPTER I.

THE MASTER OF ST. HOSPITAL.

'As poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things . . .'

The Honourable and Reverend Eustace John Wriothesley Blanchminster, D.D., Master of St. Hospital by Merton, sat in the oriel of his library revising his Trinity Gaudy Sermon. He took pains with these annual sermons, having a quick and fastidious sense of literary style. "It is," he would observe, "one of the few pleasurable capacities spared by old age." He had, moreover, a scholarly habit of verifying his references and quotations; and if the original, however familiar, happened to be in a dead or foreign language, would have his secretary indite it in the margin. His secretary, Mr. Simeon, after taking the Sermon down from dictation, had made out a fair copy, and stood now at a little distance from the corner of the writing table, in a deferential attitude.

The Master leaned forward over the manuscript; and a ray of afternoon sunshine, stealing in between a mullion of the oriel and the edge of a drawn blind, touched his bowed and silvery head as if with a benediction. He was in his seventy third year; lineal and sole surviving descendant of that Alberic de Blanchminster (Albericus de Albo Monasterio) who had founded this Hospital of Christ's Poor in 1137, and the dearest, most distinguished looking old clergyman imaginable. An American lady had once summed him up as a Doctor of Divinity in Dresden china; and there was much to be allowed to the simile when you noted his hands, so shapely and fragile, or his complexion, transparent as old ivory and still more if you had leisure to observe his saintliness, so delicately attuned to this world... Continue reading book >>




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