The Altar Steps

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III RELIGIOUS EDUCATION WHEN Mark was grown up and looked back at his early childhood—he was seven years old in the year in which his father was able to see the new St. Wilfred's an edifice complete except for consecration—it seemed to him that his education had centered in the prevention of his acquiring a Cockney accent. This was his mother's dread and for this reason he was not allowed to play more than Christian equality demanded with the boys of Lima Street. Had his mother had her way, he would never have been allowed to play with them at all; but his father would sometimes break out into fierce tirades against snobbery and hustle him out of the house to amuse himself with half-a-dozen little girls looking after a dozen babies in dilapidated perambulators, and countless smaller boys and girls ragged and grubby and mischievous. "You leave that kebbidge-stalk be, Elfie!" "Ethel! Jew hear your ma calling you, you naughty girl?" "Stanlee! will you give over fishing in that puddle, this sminute. I'll give you such a stepping, you see if I don't." "Come here, Maybel, and let me blow your nose. Daisy Hawkins, lend us your henkerchif, there's a love! Our Maybel wants to blow her nose. Oo, she is a sight! Come here, Maybel, do, and leave off sucking that orange peel. There's the Father's little boy looking at you. Hold your head up, do." Mark would stand gravely to attention while Mabel Williams' toilet was adjusted, and as gravely follow the shrill raucous procession to watch pavement games like Hop Scotch or to help in gathering together enough sickly greenery from the site of the new church to make the summer grotto, which in Lima Street was a labour of love, since few of the passersby in that neighbourhood could afford to remember St. James' grotto wit...
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