Recollections of My Youth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Recollections of My Youth.
In short, the only faculty lacking, was one which would have caused him to abjure Catholicism, viz. the critical one.  Or I should rather say that he had the critical faculty very highly developed in every point not touching religious belief; but that possessed in his view such a co-efficient of certainty, that nothing could counterbalance it.  His piety was in truth, like the mother o’pearl shells of Francois de Sales, “which live in the sea without tasting a drop of salt water.”  The knowledge of error which he possessed was entirely speculative:  a water-tight compartment prevented the least infiltration of modern ideas into the secret sanctuary of his heart, within which burnt, by the side of the petroleum, the small unquenchable light of a tender and sovereign piety.  As my mind was not provided with these water-tight compartments, the encounter of these conflicting elements, which in M. Le Hir produced profound inward peace, led in my case to strange explosions.

[Footnote 1:  I should like to make one observation in this connection.  People of the present day have got into the habit of putting Monseigneur before a proper name, and of saying Monseigneur Dupanloup or Monseigneur Affre.  This is bad French; the word “Monseigneur” should only be used in the vocative case or before an official title.  In speaking to M. Dupanloup or M. Affre, it would be correct to say Monseigneur.  In speaking of them, Monsieur Dupanloup, Monsieur Affre; Monsieur, or Monseigneur l’Evqeue d’Orleans, Monsieur or Monseigneur l’Archeveque de Paris.]



St. Sulpice, in short, when I went through it forty years ago, provided, despite its shortcomings, a fairly high education.  My ardour for study had plenty to feed upon.  Two unknown worlds unfolded themselves before me:  theology, the rational exposition of the Christian dogma, and the Bible, supposed to be the depository and the source of this dogma.  I plunged deeply into work.  I was even more solitary than at Issy, for I did not know a soul in Paris.  For two years I never went into any street except the Rue de Vaugirard, through which once a week we walked to Issy.  I very rarely indulged in any conversation.  The professors were always very kind to me.  My gentle disposition and studious habits, my silence and modesty, gained me their favour, and I believe that several of them remarked to one another, as M. Carbon had to me, “He will make an excellent colleague for us.”

Upon the 29th of March, 1844, I wrote to one of my friends in Brittany, who was then at the St. Brieuc seminary: 

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Recollections of My Youth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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