Imatges de pàgina

she is obliged to leave England for six months, as her parents are wintering abroad, but, still smiling, hopes to come back at the end of the half-year and resume her class, should she not be required at home!

Once more. It is an unwritten law of the Ladies' Settlement that, in the matter of Church attendance, favour should be impartially bestowed on all the parishes in which the Settlement works; the idea being, one supposes, that the vicars of such parishes are so extremely anxious for the patronage of the settler that they will be filled with mortal jealousy should one parish be preferred to another. The results of such an arrangement are curious and edifying in the extreme. Under the impression that if they patronise all they will be satisfying all, the settlers split themselves up into St. Maryites, St. Georgeites, St. Albanites, and so on, or, what is still worse, drift from church to church, now worshipping here, now worshipping there, now worshipping yonder.

Perhaps the reader will not be altogether surprised to learn that in acting so the settlers inculcate a restless, wandering spirit in others whose sense of Churchmanship is undeveloped or altogether nonexistent. The aim of the settler should be to encourage, by example as well as by precept, loyalty to the parish church in which she is settled, and the weaker that church is, the more earnest should be her efforts to strengthen it.

Sometimes, in her enthusiasm for her new-found cosmopolitanism, the settler will go to extraordinary lengths. She has been known, for example, to bring to a clergyman a Confirmation candidate, to watch the girl carefully through the usual course of instruction, to be present at her Confirmation, and, finally, to march her out of her own parish for her first Communion. Surely the force of schism could no further go!

Then, as to the practical matter of finance. The Settlement is not so unworldly an institution as to be independent of the need of keeping its claims before the philanthropic public. Appeals for funds are periodically issued, not merely on behalf of the general work of the Settlement, but also on behalf of such special purposes as are usually considered peculiar to strictly parochial work—such, for example, as sick and poor relief, lads' and girls' clubs, mothers' meetings, clothing for poor women and children, and so on. Overlapping, with all its attendant misery of toadyism, bribery, and hypocrisy, is sure to follow. Indeed, the incumbent may quite conceivably discover that his own funds are suffering in consequence of the appeal of the Settlement to those charitably disposed. This is a much more serious matter for him than at first might

be supposed. A single illustration will suffice, perhaps, but it may be taken as typical. On the very day on which I wrote my

first letter of protest against the proposed Settlement in the parish of St. Clement, I received a communication from a lady who, for

several years, has sent me an annual donation for my work. She excused herself from doing so this year because, she said, she had decided to give what she could afford to the Fulham Settlement, as she was sure that this would be the best way, although an indirect one, of helping me. There is such a thing as unconsciously adding insult to injury.

But, apart from the risk of financial loss which a vicar must pretty certainly sustain on account of the public appeals of an institution in his midst which claims to be doing the work which he himself is supposed to be unable to do, there is always the danger that the discipline which is found requisite to the ' running of clubs, classes, or other social institutions may be rendered nugatory by competition.

Say, for instance, that the incumbent has a boy in his club who wants his own way. The thing is not inconceivable. Boys have wanted their own way in the past, and will probably want their own way in the future. Now, the lad whose supposed case we are considering, on being warned as to what will inevitably happen to him if he does not turn over a new leaf, shrugs his shoulders, turns on his heel, gives expression to a rude remark or two, and goes ' over the way to the Settlement. He can do without the old Church club, he can !

Or something displeases a member of the mothers' meeting. When next she is heard of, she also has found asylum 'over the way.'

It will be clearly seen that the Ladies' Settlement is liable to become very speedily a Cave of Adullam for all the malcontents of the parish.

Yet, not satisfied with blunting the only weapon—namely, that of disciplinewhich the much worried incumbent possesses for selfdefence and the maintenance of order, it is by no means inconceivable that the Settlement may succeed in depriving him of his voluntary helpers, trespassing upon those few precious moments of leisure which people of the humble classes can claim as their own, leisure that should be given, if given at all, to the parish. Instead of seeking new ability and energy in fresh fields, the Settlement lady will again and again impress seasoned parish workers into unwilling service, until, in some cases, they become so tired of being tossed back and forth between vicarage and Settlement that they refuse to have aught to do with either.

Let me now set down, as they occur to me, the causes which seem to be at the root of the Settlement difficulty, producing the results which I have ventured to indicate above.

1. Its pseudo-undenominationalism.—Consider the pseudo-undenominationalism of the Anglican Settlement. “Pseudo-undenominationalism,' I say, advisedly, for an undenominational Anglican Settlement is a contradiction in terms. If the Church of England founds a Settlement, that Settlement is definitively an Anglican Settlement. No sophistry can make anything else of it. Attempts to trim it into an undenominational institution are bound to result in failure.

VOL. LXIII-No. 373


A large share of the unsatisfactoriness of the Ladies' Settlement will be found in the attempt to make it undenominational; but, for the Church of England, undenominationalism, wherever found, spells ruin. The parish church cannot, even if it would, pose as an undenominational institution, and in the popular view, on that very account, may compare unfavourably with the unfettered Settlement. But a very little clear thinking will show that the Anglican Settlement is equally incapable of undenominationalism, that at its best, or its worst, it can succeed in being only pseudo-undenominational, and that its very success in this direction will prove a serious drawback to the parish.

2. Its short-service system.-Consider the weakness of what may be called the short-service system. A lady can settle' in a Settlement for six months, three months, a couple of months, even a couple of weeks. It is impossible to say what good she can do in so short a time; it is quite possible to say what harm she may do. She, who has probably never in her life worked in any environment more exciting than that of a Loamshire village, becomes fired with ambition to mitigate the evils of the society into which she finds herself suddenly plunged. At all costs she must establish some new plan of action. She appeals to the incumbent of the parish for permission to start something or other-it really hardly matters what-on an entirely, original basis, and if the unhappy man is inexperienced in the ways of Ladies' Settlements, he will probably give her leave to do so.

In a month or so, as likely as not without a word of warning, the enthusiastic pioneer will disappear; and the unfortunate vicar, in addition to the overwhelming work which is a legitimate part of his daily duty, will find himself saddled with a crude organisation, possibly very costly, more than possibly very unmanageable, which he dare not throw over for fear of being condemned as reactionary, but which he knows, with the sure instinct of the prophet, will never be saved from failure by any efforts of his, however self-sacrificing.

3. Its lack of training.The training of parish workers is one of the main purposes for which the Ladies' Settlement is supposed to exist. But what kind of training is given ? What kind of training can be given ? It is impossible for a woman who makes a flying visit to a Settlement to get more than a smattering of the difficult work which faces the ordinary parish worker every day. Her knowledge of her subject is, for the most part, academic : it could not well be anything else, considering the meagre opportunities she has of acquiring knowledge of the kind. What the parish priest needs is a body of thoroughly competent workers, and, if the Settlement is to be of any use whatever to him, it should consist of workers who know what they want to do and know how to do it. There should be no amateur workers in the Settlement.

It is no valid criticism of this contention to say that the parish priest has to put up with the amateur among his own helpers. That may be so. That, as a fact, often is so. But the parish priest is in close touch with his helpers ; his interests are their interests, his glory is theirs. He can bring his influence daily to bear upon them; and it is surprising in how short a time, under such conditions, even the most inexperienced become useful parish workers.

Not so with the Settlement lady. She owns allegiance, as we have seen, not to the parish priest, but to the head of the House.' She takes her orders from her superior, and, so far as the parish and its official head are concerned, her superior is an independent personage, acknowledging the authority and the sole authority of a committee of ladies whose acquaintance with their subject is frequently in inverse ratio to their zeal, and who periodically meet to discharge ' business,' the tedium of which is not invariably unrelieved by mild gossip, by serious scandal, or even by deliberate mischief-making.

It is particularly unfair on the up-to-date clergyman, full of many duties and many cares, to thrust on him the petty vexations incidental to incompetence in the Settlement worker. It is gross injustice that he should be virtually the object of criticism and censure by a secret conclave of women who are able to injure him in quarters where he is anxious to be understood and appreciated, and may practically ruin his career by preferring charges against him which he will never have an opportunity of answering.

4. Its anti-social character. Strange as it may seem, the Settlement is by no means the social institution that one would expect it to be, and that many people would claim for it. The tyro, for example, who has come into residence with an earnest desire to benefit her fellow-creatures, too often finds so little of the social element among her peers that she rapidly wearies of the restrictions of the House, and longs for the larger sphere for her activities which is afforded by the parish.

If Ladies' Settlements are to exist at all, they must of course have rules, and such rules as they have must be obeyed. But it should not be necessary for rules to be unpleasantly felt at every turn, nor that they should have the effect of repressing that buoyancy and brightness which are so necessary an offset against the depressing surroundings in which a Settlement is generally placed.

But there is much more than this in the anti-social character of the Ladies' Settlement; and I can best explain my meaning by dealing with this part of my subject under the twofold aspect of social and religious exclusiveness.

(a) Social exclusiveness.-The Settlement lady is too cut-and-dried in her views of life, this particular fault being the direct result of the fact that for the most part she is drawn from one class and from one class only. She is apt to regard the destiny of the poor among whom


she works as in some magic manner different in character from her

She is very far from identifying herself with these “poor sisters and brothers' about whom we prate so much nowadays. Nothing, of course, is of such immense importance to a worker among the poor as a sense of kinship with them. Yet the Settlement lady is often peculiarly deficient in this respect. Consequently the poor fear her, sometimes they respect her, but as a rule they do not love her. For the Settlement lady-no one more clearly than sherecognises the social gulf which is fixed between her and the 'masses’; the thing is ever present to her mind; also it ever bears its own most bitter fruit.

I shall never forget the disappointment of a Settlement lady, a very fine lady she was, too—who had refused my invitation to spend an evening at the little cottage which I once rented in a slum district of East London. She was not afraid of the cottage, but she was afraid of my friends-fearful lest they should not be up to the social standard of her own, still more fearful that I should assume that they were. But when, after the event, my wife informed this lady that the few friends ’ we had invited her to meet were the poor parish bodies whose good graces she was dying to secure, and added that we had spent an entirely delightful evening, her face was a sorry sight to see.

' But I thought it was a party of your own friends,' she stammered, her astonishment breaking the bounds of all discretion.

'So it was,' said my wife.

(6) Religious exclusiveness.—The Settlement lady will do much to interest'the poor' by the mechanical means of coffee and cakes, clubs and dances; but she regards, or appears to regard, the more spiritual instruments of reform as too delicate for such rough work as their redemption Often she knows little or nothing of the raising of the wretched out of the dust of depravity or of the lifting up of the beggar from the dunghill of vice, to set them among spiritual and moral princes; and the suggestion that the lowest can be elevated to the highest through the instrumentality of the spiritual powers of the Church, as exhibited in its sacraments, its doctrines, and its devotions, is received by her with dignified contempt. “They' are not fit for such things. “They' cannot be moved by such refined methods. Thus far and no further, she says in effect. For the sense of superiority is in her blood, and she has Abraham to her father.

So much, then, may be said as to the general effects and causes of the Settlement difficulty.

Is there anything else ? I think there is; and, although I touch on this point with considerable diffidence, I should not be doing justice to my contention if I altogether omitted reference to it.

Is the Settlement a virtual contradiction of the sanctity of common life? Charles Kingsley has somewhere declared that the formation

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