Recollections of My Youth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Recollections of My Youth.
When I met him later still I found that he had become a convert to extreme democratic ideas, and with the passionate exaltation which was the principal trait in his character, he was bent upon inaugurating the reign of justice.  His head was full of America, and I think that he must be there now.  A few years ago one of our old comrades told me that he had read a name not unlike his among the list of men shot for participation in the Communist insurrection of 1871.  I think that he was mistaken, but there can be no doubt that the career of poor H. de ——­ was shipwrecked by some great storm.  His many high qualities were neutralised by his passionate temper.  He was by far the most gifted of my fellow pupils at Saint-Nicholas.  But he had not the good sense to keep cool in politics.  A man who behaved as he did might get shot twenty times.  Idealists like us must be very careful how we play with those tools.  We are very likely to leave our heads or our wing-feathers behind us.  The temptation for a priest who has thrown up the Church to become a democrat is very strong, beyond doubt, for by so doing he regains colleagues and friends, and in reality merely exchanges one sect for another.  Such was the fate of Lamennais.  One of the wisest acts of Abbe Loyson has been the resistance of this temptation and his refusal to accept the advances which the extreme party always makes to those who have broken away from official ties.

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? 

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Recollections of My Youth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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