Page:Historical account of Lisbon college.djvu/91

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HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF LISBON COLLEGE.

the circles of the nobility. This intimacy, however, never caused him to forget the dignity becoming his character, nor to deviate in his conduct from what was strictly ecclesiastical. By persistently pursuing this line of conduct, he continued to the end to enjoy equally their respect and cordial good will.

During the administration of the notorious Marquis of Pombal, this intimacy with the nobility exposed him to considerable danger, as some of the families with whom he was on the closest terms of friendship, were singled out by the Minister as special objects of persecution. To avoid risk the Superiors thought it advisable that he should leave the country for a time, and he accordingly started for the English Mission, and arrived in London about the middle of the year 1774.

For some time previous to this, Allen had begun to be affected with religious scrupulosity, which at one period seemed to threaten his reason, so much so that it was found necessary to oblige him to lay aside all serious occupation and to spend a considerable time in the country. He retired to Serpa in Alentejo, with the family of Mello Breyners, who possessed considerable property in that locality, and remained there nearly a year, deriving a decided improvement to his health. Whilst on the Mission in London, he distinguished himself so much by his preaching, that he was strongly urged to publish his sermons. He was also greatly admired as a Reader, and he used to relate to his scholars an incident illustrative of the great importance of a good education. One Sunday, after Vespers, a servant maid requested to see him, and on being introduced made him a low courtesy and then presented him with a shilling, saying "that she could not refrain from offering him that trifle, as a token of the extreme delight she had often received from his reading."

On the Mission he greatly endeared himself to Bishop Challoner, who in intimate conversation usually gave him the familiar appellation of "Friend Allen," though the venerable prelate did not fail on occasions to remind him