Recollections of My Youth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Recollections of My Youth.

This explained the whole thing to me.  I remembered how the few disciples of the Jacobite School whom I had known were ardently attached to the recollections of 1793-94 and incapable of dwelling upon anything else.  The twelvemonths’ dream was so vivid that those who had experienced it could not come back to real life.  They were ever haunted by the same sinister fancy; they had a delirium tremens of blood.  They were uncompromising in their belief, and the world at large, which no longer pitched its note to their cry, seemed idle and empty in their eyes.  Left standing alone like the survivors of a world of giants, loaded with the opprobrium of the human race, they could hold no sort of communion with the living.  I could quite understand the effect which Lakanal must have produced when he returned from America in 1833 and appeared among his colleagues of the Academic des Sciences Morales et Politiques like a phantom.  I could understand Daunou looking upon M. Cousin and M. Guizot as dangerous Jesuits.  By a not uncommon contrast these survivors of the fierce struggles and combats of the Revolution had become as gentle as lambs.  Man, to be kind, need not necessarily have a logical basis for his kindness.  The most cruel of the Inquisitors of the middle ages, Conrad of Marburg for instance, were the kindest of men.  This we see in Torquemada, where the genius of Victor Hugo shows us how a man may send his fellows to the stake out of charity and sentimentalism.



Although the religious and too premature sacerdotal education which I had received prevented me from being on any intimate terms with young people of the other sex, I had several little girl-friends one of whom more particularly has left a profound impression upon me.  From an early age I preferred the society of girls to boys, and the latter did not like me, as I was too effeminate for them.  We could not play together, as they called me “Mademoiselle,” and teased me in a variety of ways.  On the other hand, I got on very well with girls of my own age, and they found me very sensible and steady.  I was about twelve or thirteen, and I could not account for the preference.  The vague idea which attracted me to them was, I think, that men are at liberty to do many things which women cannot, and the latter consequently had, in my eyes, the charm of being weak and beautiful creatures, subject in their daily life to rules of conduct which they did not attempt to override.  All those whom I had known were the pattern of modesty.  The first feeling which stirred in me was one of pity, so to speak, coupled with the idea of assisting them in their becoming resignation, of liking them for their reserve, and making it easier for them.  I quite felt my own intellectual superiority; but even at that early age, I felt that the woman

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Recollections of My Youth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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