For three years I was subjected to this profound influence, which brought about a complete transformation in my being. M. Dupanloup had literally transfigured me. The poor little country lad struggling vainly to emerge from his shell, had been developed into a young man of ready and quick intelligence. There was, I know, one thing wanting in my education, and until that void was filled up I was very cramped in my powers. The one thing lacking was positive science, the idea of a critical search after truth. This superficial humanism kept my reasoning powers fallow for three years, while at the same time it wore away the early candour of my faith. My Christianity was being worn away, though there was nothing as yet in my mind which could be styled doubt. I went every year, during the holidays, into Brittany. Notwithstanding more than one painful struggle, I soon became my old self again just as my early masters had fashioned me.
In accordance with the general rule I went, after completing my rhetoric at Saint-Nicholas du Chardonnet, to Issy, the country branch of the St. Sulpice seminary. Thus I left M. Dupanloup for an establishment in which the discipline was diametrically opposed to that of Saint-Nicholas. The first thing which I was taught at St. Sulpice was to regard as childish nonsense the very things which M. Dupanloup had told me to prize the most. What, I was taught, could be simpler? If Christianity is a revealed truth, should not the chief occupation of the Christian be the study of that revelation, in other words of theology?