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He was too dutiful and too mild in disposition in fact, too unlike his own father to offer any direct opposition to it, or to complain very often of its exactions; but he felt that at twenty he was kept with too tight a hand, and that there were worlds beyond Saint Simon Swynherde, which might be harmlessly explored.

One morning he awoke early, almost before daylight had penetrated the dull rooms where he lived, and had a sudden fancy to walk into the church. It was already daylight in the streets, but the interior of St. Simon Swynherde was dim with mist and with the obscurity of the high windows.

Simon Swynherde, which, lying in the circumbendibus of a lane named after the same saint, forms, as it were, a sort of outlying island, upon whose quiet shores the incautious wayfarer, being sometimes lost or cast away, can hear the humming surges of the great sea as they boom in the thoroughfares beyond.

One of his most intimate friends, an alderman, of congenial temperament, who had greatly distinguished himself by quarrelling and exchanging vituperative epithets with another alderman on the magisterial bench, seriously advised him to become a candidate for civic honours; but he strenuously refused, although he ultimately permitted his son Robert to achieve something like independence by becoming a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Twidlers, whose hall stood within the precincts of Saint Simon Swynherde.