Ozanam in his correspondence (Monsignor Baunard) 10

Francisco Javier Fernández ChentoFrédéric OzanamLeave a Comment

Author: Monsignor Baunard · Translator: A member of the Council of Ireland of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. · Year of first publication: 1911 (French) – 1925 (English).
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Chapter IX: Lyons and Paris

Two English Chancellors. — The rule of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul — Degree of Doctor of Laws — Anguish as to choice of career — Farewaells to Paris, to the Society, and to his friends— Ampère’s death.

The period extending from the beginning of the holidays in 1835 to those in 1836, which we are now about to touch on, covers Ozanam’s last year of legal studies and was crowned by the Degree of Doctor of Laws. This year was spent partly in Lyons and partly in Paris. In Lyons his holidays were occupied with an important work entitled Two English Chancellors. In Paris he was actively engaged in con­junction with Lallier, in the drawing-up of the Rule of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. In the Summer he bade farewell to Paris, and left for Lyons to take up a career which he entered on with misgivings.

We saw Ozanam about the middle of the month of August, 1835, hastening to Lyons to be near his mother; she would not be cured until his arrival. The journey, which then occupied two days and a night, was marked by a public incident which was calculated to display his manly Christian character.

In the interior of the same coach were a German, his wife and family_ They were journeying to Macon and would, therefore, unfortunately, be his companions for nearly all the journey. At one of the stops a pretty girl appeared at the door of a house and the German seized the opportunity to utter in bad French a coarse jest to the young man seated opposite. Frederic, regarding himself as offended, silenced him in a few words. When night came the man proceeded to discuss the same topic with his own family in German, mocking the ‘ goody-goodi­ness’ of the young Frenchman. Ozanam appeared to be asleep in his corner; but he had understood. He prepared his reply and waited till morning. Then looking the man straight in the face, he addressed him directly in a few chosen phrases in good German to the effect that a French gentleman would not use such expressions in a stage coach, and that a father of a family should blush with shame to use them before his wife and children.

The man was quite abashed and covered with embarrassment. The incident finally wound up with expressions of regard and esteem for Frederic. Nor was that all. All the stage-coach passengers alighted at Macon, and the German invited the student to breakfast with him. It was the Feast of the Assumption, and Ozanam declined with thanks. He went instead to the nearest Church to receive Holy Communion on his mother’s feast day! It was yet another cause for astonishment to hear Ozanam, on being brushed against by a little Italian scrubbed boy, speak to the little stranger in his own _tongue. This young French gentleman then spoke three languages!

It is some 3o miles from Macon to Lyons. There was no diligence running on that particular day, so Ozanam went part of the journey on foot, and got a lift for the rest of the way. He arrived at the Rue Pisay at eight o’clock in the evening.. “They were all there for mama’s feast, and were disappointed at my late arrival. Father, mother, brothers, cousins, male and female, were all there; I leave you to picture for yourself the joy of our meeting.”

Madame Ozanam, though somewhat improved, still bore disquieting traces of her illness: ultra sensitiveness, feverish energy in the practice of good works, angelic virtue and benevolence in a never-ending struggle with a wealdy and nervous constitution. “I am very uneasy about her for the coming winter,” wrote Frederic to Lallier. “If you, my dear friend, have two places for me in your prayers, give one to my mother, and the other to me. If you have but one, let my mother have it. To pray for her is to pray for me. It may be that my salva­tion is bound up with her preservation in this world.”

The City of Lyons, which Ozanam had found in the preceding vacation still bleeding from the wounds caused by the insurrection of 1834, did not present any more cheerful appearance on his return from Paris in August 1835. The dread of cholera hovered over the city. “Advancing towards our gates,” he wrote on the 23rd of September, “the dreaded plague ascended the Rhone to within ten miles of our city, driving before it multitudes of refugees, whose frenzied accounts added to the terror of our impressionable inhabitants. While the brutish crowd, on the one hand, prepared for riots and looting, a large religious congregation beseiged Notre Dame de Fourviere, and knelt in the open air upon the bare ground to chant the penitential psalms.”

He adds on this occasion, “God has for the second time glorified His Blessed Mother and consoled our poor city; the hand which threatened to crush us was, for the second time, extended to bless us. The name of Notre Dame de Fourviere no longer brings a sneer to the lips of the impious man, who cannot help thinking that, possibly he owes his life to her protection.”

The whole vacation felt the influence of that state of things: “The dread of cholera has chilled everybody,” he wrote to Paris. “We are isolated and barbarous: no friendly dinners, no picnics in the country.” Ozanam indulged in a trip, which was also a pilgrimage, to great and holy places. For the rest he occupied himself with writing, which was to result in his first work on history and religious literature. Such were the holidays of 1835.

The only outstanding event was, therefore, an excursion into the Dauphiny, where he visited the more beautiful spots with his brother, the priest, “his angel guardian,” as he calls him! The trip was completed with the ascent of the Chartreuse Peak and a stay at the grand monastery for two days and a night. I pass by his enthusias­tic description of “those cloud-capt heights and fathomless abysses,” the remains of gigantic upheavals which are a symbol grander than the spectacle itself. “A frightful disorder and tremendous upheaval to reach Heaven—efforts that are powerless but unceasing—is not that the image of life and of the human soul?”

What then did he see in this solitude? “Nature, which he is at a loss to describe, and men, whom he cannot imitate. What did the monastery show him? Sixty eight monks, elevated above the thoughts and desires of human beings; a lonely nest where souls grow in holiness under the shelter of religion to wing their way to Heaven.”

There, above matters and men, the saving prayer is heard. “I was present at matins at eleven o’clock at night in their solitary chapel. I listened to that choir of sixty innocent voices, and thought of all the crime that was being committed in our great cities at that hour. I asked myself if there were really sufficient expiation to blot out such stains, and I recalled the just men, for whose sake God would have granted safety to Sodom. Hope then returned to my heart bringing with it sweet memories which will ever dwell with me and mayhap help to encourage me in the days of darkness. It may even be, that a virtuous inspiration will spring from it which will one day make me better.”

When the fortnight’s trip was finished, Ozanam did not again quit his feeble mother. It was, as he himself tells us, by her side, and under her eyes that he wrote the moral, historical, and critical essay entitled, Two English Chancellors. This work appeared in single articles in the Revue Europeenne, pending publication in a permanent form, which was to be the revelation of the workman in his first great work. From this point of view it is worthy of attention.

Literature had claimed him for her own after his Licentiateship in Law and prior to his Doctorate. Not literature for its own sake, but literature devoted to the demonstration of the moral ascendancy of Christianity over the human conscience. If this beautiful historical work shows the prentice-hand of an eloquent scholar, it is already the work of a powerful apologist, who demonstrates the influence of religion by the contrast of two portraits; these are juxtaposed and establish the thesis by contrast. The thesis represents Christianity as the centre from which Art, History, Literature and Science are illuminated. The introduction places this thought before us in one of his most beautiful passages:

“We, who were born in the bosom of the Church, and who have been nourished by its teaching, find its traces at all times and in all places. We love the humanity of filial love, but in it we see and cherish the Church above all, through whom and by whom, all that there is in humanity is made pure and great. We plunge freely into the regions of science, and we inevitably find some one of those fundamental religious truths, which we had been taught when we were young. We fix our gaze on those monuments which were raised throughout the centuries by the hand of man; and ever in their foundations we find some medal struck with the divine effigy. We cannot breathe the air of the world without drinking in somewhat of the perfume of our sanctuaries. Amid the din of clashing systems and of struggling powers, our ears retain the distant murmuring of sacred chants. When we stand at the foot of the statues of great men, our thoughts follow their natural bent, leading to the altars of our saints.”

Such is the disposition of Ozanam’s mind and heart when, coming in the course of his historical studies to the beginning of the 17th century, he found himself face to face with one of the greatest geniuses of modern times, Bacon, Lord Verulam, Chancellor of England under Elizabeth and James I. But this great mind presents a debased and abject character, a slave to his own fortune, which cast him into depths of ignomony that cause the historian to blush. Ozanam is shocked, and retreating into the Middle Ages, finds another English Chancellor under Henry II., Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canter­bury. There is a courtier, transformed by religion, and the grace of his sacred position, into a man of God, faithful unto heroism, sublime unto martyrdom. In these two characters Ozanam finds the repre­sentation of the rationalist and of the Christian principle. In the one, reason enthroned in its highest powers of understanding, in the other, faith exposed to the rudest and most violent persecution. He then said to himself: “Let us contrast these two, a great man and a saint, to learn in which is human nature elevated to the highest degree and crowned with the greatest glory. We shall thus investigate which of the two principles, philosophy or religion, is the more fruitful in virtue and in greatness.” Such is the monument which the young conscript of scarce 22 years proposes to raise to the glory of the Gospel.

Ozanam notes in his correspondence the difficulties and the amount of research which this study in contrasts imposed on the conscientious historian. But he also lets us know amid what tender loving care he found his relaxation. “There were entire days when nothing was clear,” he writes, “and when, unable to write a single line, I spent hours and hours with my mother and my little brother, playing at being once more a child, and thus forgetting my difficult trade of writing.”

He found another refuge at the feet of another mother, the Virgin of Fourviere, to whom the great English martyr was also devoted. “Having gone to Fourviere twice, I knelt before the altar of St. Thomas of Canterbury. I asked him, with all the little fervour that I could command, to help me in a task undertaken in his glory.” The pro­scribed saint had dwelt in Lyons during the period of his misfortunes, and had described it as follows: “I have heard it said that men on the banks of the river Sa8ne are freer than elsewhere! I shall go there on foot with one of my own people. Perhaps when they see our affliction, they will take pity on us and will give us the necessaries of life, until God shall have provided for us.”

That beautiful appreciation of those two characters concludes with these lines: “You have now before you two great figures. Rationalism has made one, Catholicism the other. It is for you to see, to which of the two systems you wish to deliver your soul.” All is contained in the following prayer, a strophe to the immortality of the hero who was sacrificed for the Christian Law: “For six hundred years, one hundred millions of Catholics venerate with respect and love the memory of that Bishop of other times. When, in solemn supplication, we repeat the long Litany of Saints then, Oh Thomas of Canterbury! you also we invoke, and you we salute with the most beautiful title in the language of men; we call you martyr!”

When, in the following Spring, M. de Coux, former editor of the Revue Europeenne, published in book form this first production of his young collaborator, he hesitated to praise too warmly one so near to him. “But,” he adds, “we must in justice state that serious study, original research, a spirit instinct with Catholic truth will be found herein. That is sufficient in our opinion to ensure the sympathy of the critical public, whom we are addressing, for the young author, who is willing to devote himself to the serious and responsible task of defending religion, and who brings to that work all the talent he possesses.”

That was more praise than Ozanam wished. When he regarded the volume, he found it trivial in comparison with a charitable work which Paul de la Perriere had brought to completion. He told himself, to his own confusion, that a good deed was worth more than a good book. He wrote as follows: “While I was dragging myself over these poor pages, de la Perriere finished a Church in his suburb and had it blessed. He thus obtained the benefits of religious instruction and the Holy Sacrifice for several hundred people, who now gain for him in return numberless graces. How much better actions are than words, and how I am ashamed of my role of scribbler, which I fill so badly! However, I hope that all my work will not be barren. It cannot be altogether for nothing that I have come into close contact with such a great saint, and entered in a measure into his mind and life. I hope that those recollections will not be altogether useless to me in the battle of life.”

After four months and a half of industrious holidays, Ozanam mentioned his return to Paris in the following lines to de La Noue, dated the 23rd November, 1835: “I am to set out in a week. This year’s stay will be my last and my time will be wholly occupied in hard preparation for the Degrees of Doctor of Laws and Doctor of Literature . . . . But we shall not be strangers to one another. For that I rely upon the genius of friendship. Good-bye my dear poet; remember me in your thoughts, in your flights of fancy, and in your prayers.”

What was calling him to Paris was undoubtedly the study necessary for the development of his thesis for the Degree of Doctor of Laws, but it was above and beyond all rtis own special work, the work of charity, which he had so lately declared to take precedence over that of science.

In order the better to work, he wished to live during 1835-36 with Lallier, Secretary-General of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, just as he had done the preceding year with Le Taillandier, who was now back in Rouen. He wrote to Lallier as follows on the 16th November: “I expect to leave Lyons any time between the 25th inst. and the 3rd prox. In Paris I shall have to find furnished lodgings. You will have to do the same. Could we not rent a little flat together? Wait for me if it is at all possible. Loneliness would be fatal to my peace of mind: my imagination tyrannises over me. When alone, I always seem to have some demon by my side. In the company of Christian friends I feel at once the fulfilment of the promise of Him who has undertaken to be wherever they are gathered together in His Name. We would live as brothers; I would ask you to mortify my untameable self-love; we should endeavour to grow better together. We would be able to link up our works of charity, to develop our plans for the future. We would mutually support one another in our dejection, console one another in our sadness and affliction.”

Since they had come to understand each other better, Ozanam and Lallier found themselves more and more in accord. Many circum­stances tended to bring them together. Lallier was but a year younger than Ozanam, and his father also was a doctor in Joigny. One of his uncles was the president of a legal tribunal in the city; another uncle, a priest, professor in the same place, afterwards Rector of the Royal College of Orleans, later Canon, and Vicar General of Sens, had become renowned as a lecturer on the Humanities in the University. He was also well known as an episcopal administrator among the clergy. Francis, their nephew, was, like Ozanam, a thorough-going Christian. Two friends of his, Lamache and de la Perriere thus describe him: “Ozanam represented daring initiative, precocious knowledge, en­gaging and winning frankness, the charm of beautiful thoughts and elevated sentiments. He was easily with us, priinus inter pares. Lallier came second; he had a strong character, extreme kindness, sound common sense, more reason than imagination, more solidity than brillancy. His demeanour was reserved, even cold, but beneath it he had a warm heart, melting in close friendship into extreme tender­ness. He was as serious as a judge, and this characteristic joined to a simple and affectionate cordiality gained for him among us the title of Father Lallier.”

It had come to this with Ozanam, that he could not get on without him, longing for his approval and his affection. The same letter admits that with humility: “How egotistical I am! You know how often in Paris, I practically begged for your praise, evoking ex­pressions of your treasured friendship. For example, you told me one evening that you would pray for me by name. Those words are engraven on my heart . . . . ”

“We shall link up our Associations of Charity,” Ozanam had written. It was a serious moment for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The four Conferences in Paris, St. Etienne du Mont, St. Sulpice, St. Philippe-du-Roule, Notre-Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, were all in com­plete touch with each other. Then the Society extended beyond Paris. We have seen M. Uonce Curnier establishing it in Nimes. The young painter, Janmot had carried it to Rome, where Claudius Lavergne joined him. Ozanam had himself sown the first seed in Lyons soil, which we shall see blooming amid thorns and bearing abundant fruit. The general expansion of the Society in the different cities of France could already be anticipated; the young Christian students, who were members of Parisian Conferences, were bringing them back with them. The time had come to link them together into what Ozanam called a fraternal Confederation, which should have its Rule, its Law, and which would at the same time, maintain Paris, whence it had sprung, as the centre of the family circle. —

The Rule was drafted with piety and prudence by Messieurs Bailly and Lallier, who worked at it during the vacation of 1835. M. Bailly placed it before the First General Meeting of Brothers, which took place on the 21st February, 1836. He drew attention to the fact, that the Rule was based, not on theory, but on the actual practice of the already existing Conferences, and that it had been agreed upon by them before the subdivision of the first Conference took place. The Introduction, written by him, is altogether inspired by the sermons and writings of St. Vincent de Paul. It is instinct with the spirit of the humility, unity, and charity that ought to reign among Brothers, as well as with a sense of duty to ecclesiastical authority. The law­giver of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is St. Vincent de Paul himself.

The Rule proper, drawn up by Lallier, Secretary General, bears date in the Manual of the Society, December, 1835, exactly the time when Ozanam had returned to Paris and resumed his place beside his friend. His hand is not visible anywhere, but can his spirit have been a stranger to it? It opens thus: “Here, at last, is the commencement of the written constitution for which we have so long wished.” It closes thus: “Courage, then! Together or separated, near or far, let us love one another; let us love and serve the poor. Let us love this little Society, which has made us known to one another, which has placed us on the path of a more charitable and more Christian life. Let us love our practice, let us love our Rule: if we keep it faithfully it will keep us and our Society. Much evil is being done, said a holy priest, let us do some little good! Oh! how glad we shall be that we did not leave empty the years of our youth. Youth is a field which must be cultivated, let us look around and gather the ears that lie at our feet. This sheaf will be a provision for our whole life, blessed as it will have been by Our Lord.”

Ozanam’s printed letters for the year 1836 are only three. He excuses himself on the ground of the double work of this final year. He declares himself so overwhelmed, that he almost despairs of ac­complishing it. “Time recedes and leaves me stranded. It is in­sufficient to satisfy the just demands of study and of friendship.”

He wrote the same year to his younger brother: “You are beginning to know, my dear brother, how hard the business of a young man is. Formerly it was war, to-day it is examination. There are, without question, periods of work which are as hard as any campaign. For five months in 1836-37 I worked regularly, not counting lectures, ten, and in the last month fourteen to fifteen hours a day. Prudence is necessary to avoid injuring one’s health, but the constitution gets used to it by degrees.” Did Ozanam ever exercise that Prudence ‘ in his own regard?

On the 3oth April, 1836, Ozanam maintained with honour his two theses for the Degree of Doctor of Laws. The subjects were, in Roman Law De Interdictis, in French Law De la Prescription a l effet d’acquirir. Very few students in those days went as far as the Degree of Doctor, which alone conferred the privilege of lecturing advanced classes in a Faculty. Ozanam was, one day, to benefit by that.

He did not give way to ecstasies at his success. What was ordinarily the first rung of the ladder for others, was for him the hangman’s noose. As Doctor of Laws, he belonged definitely henceforward to the Bar, to the Court, to the career from which he shrank. It was for it that he would be obliged to renounce for ever, his profession, his apostolate of Literature: Literature to which his childhood and his youth had been dedicated, to which he had given so many solemn pledges, and which in return had brought him such noble and holy pleasure. Writing for God, speaking for God! I regard the day after the examination for the Degree of Doctor of Laws as one of the saddest days in Ozanam’s life.

Listen to his terror at his return to Lyons: “I am leaving Paris. What shall I do in Lyons? They wish me to plead. Am I then to be confined within the narrow limits of a court? That will be very hard on me. My dear friend, is this distaste for Law mere pride? Is this love for higher study a vocation? Is it an inspiration from on high or a temptation from below? Is all that I have written and done for the last five years, reason or madness?”

It is of God Himself that he asks humbly as a child:” My dear friend, pray that God may deign to answer the questions which I ask of Him daily! I seem to be resigned to His holy will, no matter what humble part, what painful task He assigns to me. But only that it be known to me! That I may no longer be, as I have been for the last five years, divided against myself, that is to say, weak, powerless and useless.”

At other times he accuses himself. Doctor, he is indeed: but is he as learned as he ought to be and could have been? Barrister, Jurist, he will be. But will he occupy the rank he could have taken? “Ah I” he confessed about this time, “if I had devoted exclusively to the study of Law, the gifts which God has given me, and the five years stay in Paris which my parents have afforded me, I should have been able to win a place at the Bar, which I cannot now hope to attain. All those thoughts agitate and torment me. The necessity, in which I find myself placed, of taking up a definite career, oppresses me. I am afraid of causing bitter disappointment to my dear parents, and you know how well they deserve to be loved!”

As to the possibility of dabbling in Literature as a pastime, that is not to be thought of. “No,” he protests, “my nature, my mind, my heart revolt against that arrangement. The passion kindled by Literature would have all my life, all my soul to itself alone. Thus I am face to face with the choice of abandoning one or other career, as I cannot adopt both. But how can I make up my mind to bid fare­well to Literature, that exacting muse, who is making me pay so dearly for companionship?

Then again, if he feared Lyons, he regretted Paris. Instead of leav­ing immediately after his Law Degree, he remained on up to the vacation. That was primarily for the necessary preparation for the Degree of Doctor of Literature, which was the only way out of the cruel impasse. He was also retained by all kinds of bonds, of religion, of friendship, and of charity. Thus, he had written earlier: “I desire, undoubtedly, to be with my parents. It seems to me that they need me; I feel that I need them. Notwithstanding that, it will be hard on me, it will be cruel for me, to leave the place of my exile, to bid farewell to those who have made it tolerable for me, and to forego the fraternal gatherings that nothing can replace.”

Those fraternal gatherings were the meetings of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, its feasts and pilgrimages. He again invited one of his friends, Gustave de La Noue, living at Auteuil, to another such meeting at Nanterre on the nth June: “I shall see you in a few days. In the meantime a group of your friends will meet on next Sunday, a mile and a half from your place, to take part in the procession of Nanterre. Come and join them, my dear La Noue. Come and pass a few moments of joy and love with us. Come and cast the incense of your thoughts in the path of Our Lord and Saviour.”

Lather was not to be with him: “You know,” he wrote, “how hard it will be on me not to have you with me this year. Let our thoughts often fly to each other, let us write, advise and sustain each other. I think that you may stand in need of it for you are human: but my need will be still greater . . . . Good-bye, my dear Lallier! May it not be long till I see you again!”

There was also in that city his dearest and most honoured master, who kept him there. He passed away about that time. The world-renowned Andre Marie Ampère, whom Ozanam called his second father, departed this life in Marseilles on the Toth June, at the age of sixty years. It was the eve of the day on which Ozanam had dis­patched his pious letter to de La None.

Ozanam’s consolation lay in the fact that he had assisted that great man with his pen to the very end, as the following affectionate letter, dated the loth September, 1835, testifies: “My excellent friend,” Ampère wrote him, “how shall I adequately express my gratitude to you for your article to which I attach inestimable value? My grati­tude shall last as long as I live.”

The death of the great Christian was precious in the sight of God. To those who enquired after his health, he replied: “My health! My health! What a question to ask! Nothing is of importance now but eternal truth!” Ozanam tendered his homage on the tomb of his fatherly friend; in the first place to that religious spirit which had made him at once so good and so great! “It was beautiful to examine closely what Christianity had wrought in his great soul, begetting there a wonderful simplicity, the modesty of a genius which knew the value of everything but itself; an affable and engaging charity; benevolence to all, but especially to young men.” . . . Ozanam again addressed him, and for the last time, as his second father.

He grieved long for him, in sad company with his son whom he re­minded in a letter a year later: “Dear Sir and friend, I remember well one day that you visited me in my little apartment. Our eyes were wet with tears. I told you of my eagerness to return to my own family, and profit by the time that Heaven would deign to grant to my aged parents. With your experience before me, I shuddered at the thought of a similar misfortune.”

We find Frederic in Lyons with his parents at the end of the month of July, 1836. That city entered into possession of her child for four years. During that period he often turned his eyes and his thoughts to that sweet “exile in Paris,” which had given him, he said, the five fairest and happiest years in his life. About two years after their close he drew the following charming picture in a letter to Lallier, dated 17th May, 1838: “You cannot think, my dear friend, what an inexpres­sible charm the little scenes of our student’s life possess for me, when I see them idealised in the twilight of the past. The evening gather­ings at M. Gerbet’s, where we first met and which had an element of the mystic. The historical and philosophical debates into which we introduced such keenness, and in which our success was freely pooled. The little charitable gatherings in the Rue du Petit-Bourbon-Saint­Sulpice, the first of which I insist, was held in the month of May, no matter what Lamache says. The famous evening when after being present at the breaking-up of the Academy of St. Hyacinth, we re­turned and drew up the petition to Monsignor de Quelen. The un­expected visit which we paid in fear and trembling to the Archbishop, where we made a bold assault and whence we departed so excited. The first addresses of Lacordaire at Stanislaus College; his triumph at Notre Dame, in which we had some share. The editing of the Revue Europeenne in M. Bailly’s rooms. The vicissitudes of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The famous meeting at the end of December, 1834, where the question of sub-division was discussed, at which Le Taillandier wept, and La Perriere and I handled each other roughly in debate and which terminated in a shake hands and best wishes for the New Year. Then the Christmas midnight feast, the Corpus Christi processions; the honey-suckle which bloomed so beautifully on the Nanterre road; the relics of St. Vincent de Paul borne on our shoulders to Clichy. Then, again, so many kind actions done to one another; the outpouring of the heart so often to one’s brother; so much sound advice, so much good example; the tears shed in secret at the foot of the altar, when we found ourselves together. Lastly, the walks through the lilac trees of the Luxembourg, or on the square of St. Etienne du Mont, when the light of the moon silhouetted the three great buildings!”

“All that became for me, my dear friend, the background of my thoughts; it shed a dim religious light on my present existence. Thus history in its flight becomes poetry•. I also have my golden age, my heroic and legendary cycles. But what remains ever true, what has plunged deepest roots not only into my imagination, but into my affection, are the friendships formed during that portion of my life. . . Each day brings me some new assurance of that, as I receive a letter from you, news from Lamache, from Le Taillandier, from Pessonneaux and from other friends. That translates me out of this ignorant present. If it were not ridiculous to use such an expression at the age of 25 years, I should say it rejuvenates me!”

He wrote in the same strain, though in somewhat warmer terms to Le Taillandier about the 21st August, 1837: “My dear friend, may each one of us, as he increases in years, increase also in friendship, piety, and zeal to do good! May our whole life be passed under the patronage of those to whom we have dedicated our youth: Vincent de Paul, the Blessed Virgin, and Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.—Good-bye. I shall ever love you dearly.”

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