Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 57

          Bisset still lives, but has been retired for many years. Sutherland died in 1884 and MacCluskey in 1920. I still hang on, but as I have always a staff of good curates, I am not overwhelmed. Bruce Geddes too you will remember; he died in 1909. I think these are all the Scotch of our year.

          Yes, I am the same poor Paddy of fifty years ago; but I fear you would not know me if you met me. Here is a snapshot taken by a young girl as I left the motor car last week. What a peculiar life I have had, from what I expected. I arrived in Edinboro the Thursday after our ordination. I got full charge of a Mission the next day, and have been the head of several Missions throughout the diocese. I was elected member of the Cathedral Chapter in 1899 and appointed V.G. in 1905. Anyone who knew poor Paddy in 1875 and 76 as you did must surely say the Lord is wonderful in His dispensations. However, under all my trials and difficulties, like Job I took all as the will of God, and just did my best--and the best could do no more. So life has passed, and as the end appears it is indeed difficult to face our dear Lord with little fruit for all the favors He has bestowed.

          However, the heart grows young again in meeting an old and dear chum at the close of the long day. 

          Trusting to hear from you again,

                                            Yours very sincerely,
                                                          PADDY MORRIS

          The snapshot he sent was a very good picture, showing his genial smile, but the years had their effect, and I doubt if I would have known him if I met him face to face; certainly not if that meeting [was] unexpected. Since that time he too has passed to his reward. Rest in peace!

          The summer of 1874 brought me the opportunity of a visit to Ireland. My friend and relative, Mr. Browne, was my companion on this occasion. We passed over to London and spent a couple of days seeing thinggi [things] in that metropolis. There was not much time for sightseeing, but we visited Westminister [Westminster] Abbey and saw the Chapel of Henry VII which was a magnificent piece of architecture, but it seemed cold without the altar. I felt more devotion in the humble chapel in Spanish Place where we heard mass. The abbey has a great graveyard, and while roaming among the tombs my friend called my attention to a marble slab upon which I happened to be standing, and looking down I read in large brass letters the name of “Charles Dickens”.

          We visited Hyde Park, saw the aristocracy on Rotten Row, strolled along the Serpentine, viewed the exterior of Buckingham Palace and made a visit to the Tower of London, sacred in Catholic eyes to the martyrs of the Reformation, but now a curiosity where the principal attraction is a strong-room containing the jewels of Queen Victoria. The crown was shown to us without its jewels for the real ones, they said, were safe in some other stronghold. The entire exhibit may have been imitation for all I know.

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