Page:Our Philadelphia (Pennell, 1914).djvu/203

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
183
A QUESTION OF CREED

here and there a convert like my Father, and an occasional native Philadelphian who, unaccountably, had always been a Catholic, the congregation, whether I went to the Cathedral or St. John's, to St. Joseph's or St. Patrick's, was chiefly Irish, as also were the priests when they were not Italians.

Fashion sent the Philadelphian to the Episcopal Church. It could not have been otherwise in a town as true to tradition as Philadelphia had not ceased to be in my young days. No sooner had Episcopalians settled in Philadelphia than, by their greater grandeur of dress and manner, they showed the greater social aspirations they had brought with them from the other side—the Englishman's confidence in the social superiority of the Church of England to all religion outside of it. Presbyterians are said to have had a pretty fancy in matters of wigs and powdered and frizzled hair, which may also have been symbolic, for they followed a close fashionable second. Baptists and Methodists, on the contrary, affected to despise dress and, while I cannot say if the one fact has anything to do with the other, I knew fewer Baptists and Methodists than Catholics. By my time the belief that no one could be "a gentleman" outside the Church of England, or its American offshoot, was stronger than ever, and fashion required a pew at St. Mark's or Holy Trinity or St. James's, if ancient lineage did not claim one at St. Peter's or Christ Church; though old-fashioned people like my Grandfather and Grandmother might cling blame-