Page:Our Philadelphia (Pennell, 1914).djvu/198

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178
OUR PHILADELPHIA

Catholicism was for Irish servants—for the illiterate. I remember a book called Kate Vincent I used to read at a Protestant Uncle's, where it may purposely have been placed in my way. Does anybody else remember it?—a story of school life with a heroine of a school girl who, in the serene confidence of her sixteen or seventeen summers, refuted all the learned Doctors of the Church by convicting a poor little Irish slavey of ignorance for praying to the Blessed Virgin and the Saints. I think I must have forgotten it with many foolish books for children read in my childhood had not Kate Vincent been so like Philadelphians in her calm superiority, though, fortunately, Philadelphians did not share her proselytising fervour. They went to the other extreme of lofty indifference and for them the Catholic churches in their town did not exist any more than the streets of little two-story houses south of Pine, a region into which they would not have thought of penetrating except to look up somebody who worked for them.


II

I might have learned as much during my holidays at my Grandfather's had I been given to reflection during my early years. My Father was a convert with the convert's proverbial ardour. He had been baptised in the Convent chapel with my Sister and myself—I was eight years old at the time—and many who were present declared it the most touching ceremony they had ever seen. However, to the family, who had not seen it, it was anything but touch-