En Route
by J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
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"The social system may thus be summed up, as I think: the masters wish to profit by the workmen, who in their turn desire to be paid as much as possible for as little work as possible. Well, then, there is no way out of that."

"Exactly, and there is the sad part of it, for socialism in fact arises from kindly ideas, just ideas, and will always run up against egotism and gain, against the inevitable breakers of the sins of man.

"And your little chocolate factory gives you at least some income?"

"Yes; that saves us."

The abbot was silent for a second; then he went on,

"You know, sir, how a convent is founded. I take for example our Order. A domain and the lands about it are offered the Order on condition that it peoples them. The Order takes a handful of its monks, and settles them as a swarm on the soil given to it. There its task stops. The grain must spring up of itself, or to put it differently, the Trappists, severed from their mother-house, must gain their livelihood, and suffice for themselves.

"So when we took possession of these buildings we were so poor, that from bread to shoes everything was lacking; but we had no anxiety for the future, for there is no example in monastic history that Providence has not succoured abbeys who trusted in it. Little by little we drew our food from the estate, and we learnt useful trades; now we make our habits and our shoes; we reap our wheat and make our bread; our material existence is therefore assured, but the taxes crush us; therefore we have founded this factory, of which the report becomes better from year to year.

"In a year or two the building which shelters us, and for want of money we have been unable to repair, will tumble down, but if God then allows generous souls to come to our aid, perhaps we shall be in a condition to build a monastery, which is the wish of all of us; for indeed this hovel with its rooms in confusion, and its rotunda-chapel, is painful to us."

The abbot was silent again, then after a pause he said in a low voice, speaking to himself,

"It cannot be denied, a convent which has not the look of a cloister is an obstacle to vocations; the postulant has need—and this is quite natural—to mould himself in surroundings which please him, to encourage himself in a church which wraps him round, in a somewhat sombre chapel; and to obtain that result you want the Romanesque or Gothic style."

"Ah, yes, indeed. And have you many novices?"

"We have especially many subjects who desire to feel the life of Trappists, but the greater part do not succeed in supporting our way of life. Beside even the question of knowing whether the vocation of the beginners is imaginary or real, we are from the physical point of view clearly fixed after a fortnight's trial."

"Eating vegetables only must crush the most robust constitutions; I do not even understand how, leading an active life, you can bear it."

"The truth is that bodies obey where souls are resolute. Our ancestors endured the life of the Trappists very well. We want souls at the present day. I remember that when I made my probation in a Cistercian cloister I had no health, and yet had it been necessary I would have eaten stones!

"Moreover, the rule will soon be softened," pursued the abbot; "but in any case there is a country which, if there should be scarcity, assures us a good number of recruits, Holland."

And seeing Durtal's look of astonishment, the father said,

"Yes, in that Protestant country mystic vegetation is flourishing. Catholicism is all the more fervent that it is, if not persecuted, at least despised, drowned in the mass of Calvinists. Perhaps this belongs also to the nature of the soil, to its solitary plains, its silent canals, to the very taste of the Dutch for a regular and peaceable life; but in that little knot of Catholics the Cistercian vocation is always very common."

Durtal looked at the Trappist as he walked majestic and quiet, his head buried in his hood, his hands passed under his cincture.

From time to time his eyes grew bright inside his hood, and the amethyst which he wore on his finger sparkled in brief flames.

No sound was heard; at this hour the monastery was asleep. Durtal and the abbot were walking on the banks of the great pond, where the water was alive, it alone wakeful in the slumber of the woods, for the moon, which shone in a cloudless sky, sowed a myriad of goldfish, and this luminous spawn, fallen from the planet, mounted, descended, sparkled in a thousand little points of fire, of which the wind as it blew increased the brightness.

The abbot spoke no longer, and Durtal, who was thinking, intoxicated by the sweetness of the night, groaned suddenly. He had just considered that at this same hour the next day he would be at Paris, and seeing the monastery, whose pale front appeared at the end of a walk as at the end of a dark tunnel, he cried, thinking of all the monks who inhabited it,

"Ah! they are happy!"

And the abbot answered, "Too happy."

Then gently, in a low voice,

"Yes, it is true we enter here to do penance, to mortify ourselves, and we have hardly begun to suffer when God consoles us. He is so good that He Himself wishes to deceive Himself about our merits. If at certain moments He allows the Demon to persecute us, He gives us in exchange so much happiness that there is no proportion preserved between the recompense and the sorrow. Sometimes when I think of it, I ask myself how there still subsists that equilibrium that nuns and monks are charged to maintain, since neither of us suffer enough to neutralize the repeated sins of towns?"

The abbot stopped, and then went on pensively,

"The world does not even conceive that the austerity of the abbeys can profit it. The doctrine of mystical compensation escapes it entirely. It cannot represent to itself that the substitution of the innocent for the guilty is necessary when to suffer merited punishment is concerned. Nor does it explain to itself any more that in wishing to suffer for others, monks turn aside the wrath of heaven, and establish a solidarity in the good which is a counter-weight against the federation of evil. God knows, moreover, with what cataclysms the unconscious world would be menaced, if in consequence of a sudden disappearance of all the cloisters, the equilibrium which saves it were broken."

"The case has already presented itself," said Durtal, who while listening to the Trappist thought of the Abbe Gevresin, and remembered how that priest had expressed himself on the same subject in nearly similar terms. "The Revolution, in fact, suppressed all convents with one stroke of a pen, but I think that the history of that time when so many hucksters were busy is still to be written. Instead of searching for documents on the acts, and even on the persons of the Jacobins, the archives of the religious orders which existed at that time should be ransacked.

"In working thus at the side of the Revolution, in sounding its neighbourhood, its foundations will be exhumed. Its causes will be brought to the surface, and it will certainly be discovered that in proportion to the suppression of convents, monstrous excesses had birth. Who knows if the demoniacal madness of Carrier or Marat do not accord with the death of an abbey whose sanctity preserved France for years."

"To be just," answered the abbot, "it is right to say that the Revolution destroyed ruins only. The rule of in commendam ended by giving the monasteries over to Satan. It was they, alas! that by the relaxation of their morals, inclined the balance, and drew down the lightning on the land.

"The Terror was only a consequence of their impiety. God, whom nothing longer withheld, let things take their course."

"Yes; but how can you now prove the necessity of compensations to a world which wanders out of the way in continued accesses of gain; how persuade it that it is an urgent need, as a preventive against new crises, to shelter towns behind the sacred bulwarks of cloisters?

"After the siege of 1870, Paris was wisely sheltered behind an immense net of impregnable forts; but is it not also indispensable to surround it with a cincture of prayers, to buttress its neighbourhood with conventual houses, to build everywhere in its suburbs convents of Poor Clares, Carmelites, Benedictine nuns of the Blessed Sacrament, monasteries which will be in some degree powerful citadels, destined to arrest the forward march of the armies of evil?

"Certainly the towns have great need of being guaranteed against infernal invasions by a sanitary defence of Orders.... But come, sir, I must not deprive you of necessary rest, I will join you to-morrow, before you quit our solitude. I have now but to say that you have only friends here, and that you will be always welcome. I hope that on your side you will keep no unfavourable memory of our poor hospitality, and that you will prove it in coming to see us again."

As they talked they had come in front of the guest-house.

The father pressed Durtal's hands, and slowly ascended the stairs, sweeping with his robe the silver dust of the steps, as he mounted, all white, in a ray of the moon.


Durtal wished immediately after Mass to visit for the last time that wood through which he had walked, in turn so languidly and so rapidly. He went at first to the old lime alley, whose pale emanations were verily for his spirit what an infusion of their leaves is for the body, a sort of very weak panacea, a kindly and soothing sedative.

Then he sat down in their shade on a stone bench. As he leant forward a little he could see through the moving spaces in the branches, the solemn front of the abbey, and opposite it, separated by the kitchen garden, the gigantic cross standing before that liquid plan of a church which the pond simulated.

He rose, and approached the watery cross, of which the sky turned the marble water blue, and he contemplated the great crucifix in white marble, which towered above the whole monastery, and seemed to rise opposite to it as a permanent reminder of the vows of suffering which he had accepted, and reserved to himself to change at length into joys.

"The fact is," said Durtal, who thought over again the contradictory declarations of the monks, confessing that they led at once the most attractive and the most atrocious life; "the fact is that the good God deceives them. They attain here below Paradise, while they seek hell there. I have myself tasted how strange is existence in this cloister, for I have been here, almost at the same time, very unhappy and very happy; and now I feel well the mirage which is already beginning: before two days are over the remembrance of the sorrows which then were, if I recall them with care, greatly above the joys, will have disappeared, and I shall only recall those interior emotions in the chapel, those delicious stolen moments in the morning in the pathways of the park.

"I shall regret the open-air prison of this convent. It is curious I find myself attached to it by obscure bonds; when I am in my cell, there return to me all kinds of memories, like those of an ancient race. I find myself at once at home again, in a place I had never seen; I recognize from the first moment a very special life, of which nevertheless I know nothing. It seems to me that something which interests me, which is indeed personal to me, passed here before I was born. Truly, if I believed in metempsychosis I might imagine I had been a monk in anterior existences; a bad monk then," he said, smiling at his reflections, "since I should have been obliged to be reincarnate and to return to a cloister to expiate my sins."

While thus talking with himself, he had passed across a long alley which led to the end of the enclosure, and, cutting across the road, and through the thickets, he strayed into the wood of the great pond.

It was not in motion, as on certain days when the wind made hollows in it, and swelled it, made it flow and return on itself as soon as it touched its banks. It remained immovable, and was only stirred by the reflections of the moving clouds and of the trees. At moments a leaf fallen from the neighbouring poplars swam on the image of a cloud, at others bubbles of air came from the bottom and burst on the surface in the reflected blue of heaven.

Durtal looked for the otter, but it did not show itself; he saw only the swallows which skimmed the water with their wing, the dragon-flies which sparkled like jewels, flashing like the blue flames of sulphur.

If he had suffered near the cross-pond, before the sheet of water of the other pond he could only call up the memory of healing hours, which he had passed lying on a bed of moss, or a couch of dry reeds, and he looked at it tenderly, trying to fix and carry it away in his memory to re-live again in Paris, shutting his eyes on the bank.

He pursued his walk, and stopped in an alley of chestnuts along the walls above the monastery; thence he went into the court in front of the cloister, the outbuildings, the stables, the woodsheds, even the pig-styes. He tried to see Brother Simeon, but he was probably engaged in the stables, for he did not appear. The buildings were silent, the pigs were shut up; only some lean cats prowled about in silence, scarcely looking when they met each other, going each on its own side, no doubt seeking some nourishing game which would console them for the eternal meals of vegetable soup served them at the monastery.

Time was getting on; he prayed for the last time in the chapel, and went to his cell to get his portmanteau ready.

While putting his things in order he thought of the inutility of decorated rooms. He had spent all his money at Paris in buying ornaments and books, for till now he had detested bare walls.

But now, considering the blank walls of this room, he admitted to himself that he had done better between these four white-washed walls than in his room at Paris, hung with stuffs.

Suddenly he recognized that La Trappe had weaned him from his preferences, had in a few days completely upset him. "The power of such an environment!" he said to himself, a little alarmed at feeling how he was transformed. And he thought in buckling his portmanteau, "I must however, go and find Father Etienne, for I must settle my account; I cannot be altogether a debtor to these good people."

He went along the corridors, and ended by meeting the father in the court.

He was a little confused how to open the question; at the first words the guest-master smiled.

"The rule of Saint Benedict is formal," he said; "we must receive our guests as we receive our Lord Jesus Himself, that is to tell you that we cannot exchange our poor care for money."

And when Durtal insisted, embarrassed,

"If it does not suit you to have partaken of our meagre pittance without paying, do as you please; only the sum which you may give will be distributed in coins of ten or twenty sous, to the poor who come each morning, often from a great distance, to knock at our monastery gate."

Durtal bowed and handed the money, which he had ready in his pocket, to the father, but he inquired if he might not have a word with Father Maximin before his departure.

"Certainly; moreover, Father prior would not have let you go without shaking hands with you. I will go and make certain if he be free. Wait for me in the refectory." And the monk disappeared, and came back a few minutes afterwards, preceded by the prior.

"Ah, well," said he, "then you are going to plunge again into the hurly-burly?"

"Oh! without any pleasure, Father."

"I understand that. It is so good, is it not, no longer to hear anything and to be silent. However, take courage; we will pray for you."

And as Durtal thanked both of them for their kind attentions,

"It is a pleasure to receive a retreatant such as you," cried Father Etienne, "nothing repulses you, and you are so exact that you are about before the hour: you rendered my task of overseer easy. If all were as little exacting and as pliable."

And he admitted that he had given lodging to priests sent by their bishops as a penance, ecclesiastics of ill-repute whose complaints about food, lodging, the need of rising early in the morning, never ceased.

"If, again," said the prior, "one could hope to recall them to good, to send them back healed to their parishes; but no, they go away still more rebellious than before, the Devil does not let them alone."

During this conversation a lay brother brought in some dishes covered with plates and placed them on the table.

"We have changed the hour of your dinner, because of the train," said Father Etienne.

"Good appetite, adieu, and may the Lord bless you," said the prior.

He raised his hand, and enwrapped Durtal, with a great sign of the cross, who knelt surprised at the sudden emotion in the monk's tone. But Father Maximin recovered himself at once, and he bowed to him as M. Bruno entered.

The meal was silent; the oblate was visibly distressed at the departure of the companion whom he loved, and Durtal looked with a swelling heart at the old man, who had so charitably come out of his solitude to give him aid.

"Will you not come some day to see me in Paris?" he said.

"No. I have quitted life without any mind to return to it. I am dead to the world. I do not wish to see Paris again. I have no wish to live again.

"But if God lend me still a few years of existence I hope to see you here again, for it is not in vain that one has crossed the threshold of mystic asceticism, to verify by one's own experience the reality of the requirements which our Lord brings about. Now, as God does not proceed by chance, He will certainly finish His work by sifting you as wheat. I venture to recommend you to try not to give way, and attempt to die in some measure to yourself, in order not to run counter to His plans."

"I know well," said Durtal, "that all is displaced in me, that I am no longer the same, but what frightens me is that I am now sure that the works of the Teresan school are exact ... then, then ... if one must pass-through the cylinders of the rolling mill which Saint John of the Cross describes...."

The noise of a carriage in the court interrupted him. M. Bruno went to the window and looked out.

"Your luggage is down."


They looked at each other.

"Listen! I would wish indeed to say to you...."

"No, no, do not thank me," cried the oblate. "See, I have never so thoroughly understood the misery of my being. Ah! if I had been another man, I might, by praying better, have aided you more."

The door opened and Father Etienne declared,

"You have not a minute to lose, if you do not wish to miss the train."

Thus hurried, Durtal had only time to press the hand of his friend, who accompanied him to the court. He found waiting a sort of open wagon driven by a Trappist, who, below a bald head, and cheeks streaked with rose threads, had a great black beard.

Durtal pressed the hands of the guest-master and the oblate for the last time, when the Father abbot came in his turn to wish him a safe journey; and at the end of the court Durtal perceived two eyes fixed on him, those of Brother Anacletus, who, at a distance, said adieu by a slight bow, but without other gesture.

Even this poor man, whose eloquent look told of a truly touching affection, had a saint's pity for the stranger whom he had seen so tumultuous and so sad in the desolate solitude of the wood!

Certainly the stiffness of the rule forbade all show of feeling to these monks, but Durtal felt thoroughly that for him they had gone to the limit of concessions allowed, and his affliction was great as he cast them in parting a last expression of thanks.

And the door of the monastery closed; that door at which he had trembled in arriving, and at which he now looked with tears in his eyes.

"We must get on fast," said the procurator, "for we are late," and the horse went at a great speed along the lanes.

Durtal recognized his companion, as having seen him in the chapel, singing in the choir during the Office.

He had an air at once good-natured and firm, and his little grey eye smiled as it glanced behind his branched spectacles.

"Well," said he, "how have you borne our regimen?"

"I have had every chance; I came herewith my stomach out of order, my body ill, and the simple Trappist meals have cured me."

And when Durtal narrated briefly the stages of soul he had undergone, the monk murmured,

"That is nothing in regard to demoniacal attacks; we have had here true cases of possession."

"And Brother Simeon discovered them!"

"Ah! you know that...." And he replied quite simply to Durtal, who spoke to him of his admiration for the poor lay brothers,

"You are right, sir; if you could talk with these peasants and illiterate men, you would be surprised at the often profound answers which these people give you; then they alone at the monastery are really courageous; we, the Fathers, when we think ourselves too weak, accept willingly the authorized addition of an egg; they never; they pray more, and it must be admitted that our Lord listens to them, since they get well again, and indeed are never ill."

And to a question of Durtal who asked him in what consisted the functions of procurator, the monk answered,

"They consist in keeping the accounts, in being the commercial agent, in travelling, in managing, alas! everything which does not concern the life of the cloister; but we are so few in number at Notre Dame de l'Atre, that we become necessarily Jacks-of-all-trades. For instance, Father Etienne is cellarer of the Abbey and guest-master, he is also sacristan and bell-ringer. I too, am first cantor and professor of plain song."

And while the carriage rolled along, shaken by the ruts, the procurator declared to Durtal, who told him how much the offices chanted at the monastery had delighted him,

"It is not with us that you ought to hear them; our choirs are too restricted, too weak to be able to raise the giant mass of those chants. You ought to go to the black monks of Solesmes or Liguge if you wish to find the Gregorian melodies executed as they were in the Middle Ages. By the way, do you know in Paris, the Benedictine nuns in the Rue Monsieur?"

"Yes; but do you not think they coo a little?"

"I cannot say; all the same their collection of tunes is authentic, but at the little seminary at Versailles, you have better still, since they chant there exactly as at Solesmes; note this well, moreover, at Paris, when the churches decline to repudiate liturgical music, they use for the most part the false notation printed and spread in abundance in all the dioceses in France by the house of Pustet of Ratisbon."

"But the errors and frauds with which those editions abound are well known."

"The legend on which its partisans rely is incorrect. To assert, as they do, that this version is no other than that of Palestrina who was charged by Pope Paul V. to revive the musical liturgy of the Church, is an argument destitute of truth and void of force, for everyone knows that when Palestrina died, he had hardly begun the correction of the Gradual.

"I will add that even if that musician had finished his work, that would not prove that his interpretation ought to be preferred to that which has been recently constituted after patient researches by the Abbey of Solesmes, for the Benedictine texts are based on the copy preserved at the monastery of St. Gall of the antiphonary of Saint Gregory, which represents the most ancient and the most certain monument which the Church preserves of the true plain chant.

"This manuscript, of which photographic facsimiles exist, is the code of Gregorian melodies, and it ought to be, if I may use the expression, the neumatic Bible of choirs.

"The disciples of Saint Benedict are then absolutely right when they declare that their version alone is faithful, alone correct."

"How then comes it that so many churches get their music from Ratisbon?"

"Alas, how comes it that Pustet has so long acquired the monopoly of liturgical books, and ... but no, better hold one's peace ... take this only for certain, that the German volumes are the absolute negation of the Gregorian tradition, the most complete heresy of plain chant."

"By the way, what time is it? We must make haste," said the procurator, looking at the watch which Durtal held up to him. "Come up, my beauty," and he whipped up the mare.

"You drive with spirit," cried Durtal.

"It is true; I forgot to say to you, that over and above my other functions, I also have, if need be, that of coachman."

Durtal thought all the same that these people were extraordinary who lived an interior life in God. As soon as they consented to redescend on earth they revealed themselves as the most sagacious and the boldest of business men. An abbot founded a factory with the few pence he succeeded in gathering; he discerned the employment which suited each of his monks, and with them he improvised artisans, writing clerks, transformed a professor of plain chant into an agent, plunged into the tumult of purchases and sales, and little by little the house which scarcely was raised above the soil, grew, put forth shoots, and ended by nourishing with its fruit the abbey which had planted it.

Transported into another environment these people would have as easily created great manufactories and started banks. And it was the same with the women. When one thinks of the practical qualities of a man of business, and the coolness of an old diplomatist which a mother abbess ought to possess in order to rule her community, one is obliged to admit that the only women, truly intelligent, truly remarkable are, outside of drawing-rooms, outside of the world, at the head of cloisters.

And as he expressed his wonder aloud, that monks were so expert at setting up business.

"It must be so," sighed the father, "but if you believe that we do not regret the time necessarily spent in digging the ground! then our spirit at least was free, then we could sanctify ourselves in silence which to a monk is as necessary as bread, for it is thanks to it, that he stifles vanity as it rises, that he represses disobedience as it murmurs, that he turns all his aspirations, all his thoughts towards God, and becomes at last attentive to His presence.

"Instead of that ... but here we are at the station; do not trouble yourself about your portmanteau, but go and take your ticket, for I hear the whistle of the train."

And in fact Durtal had only time to shake hands with the father, who put his luggage into the carriage.

There, when he was alone, seated, looking at the monk as he departed, he felt his heart swell, ready to break.

And in the clatter of the rails the train started.

Sharply, clearly, in a minute, Durtal took stock of the frightful disorder into which he had thrown the monastery.

"Ah! and outside it, all is the same to me, and nothing matters to me," he cried. And he groaned, knowing that he should never more succeed in interesting himself in all that makes the joy of men. The uselessness of caring about any other thing than Mysticism and the liturgy, of thinking about aught else save God, implanted itself in him so firmly that he asked himself what would become of him at Paris with such ideas.

He saw himself submitting to the confusion of controversies, the cowardice of conventionality, the vanity of declarations, the inanity of proofs. He saw himself bruised and thrust aside by the reflections of everybody, obliged henceforward to advance or retire, dispute or hold his tongue?

In any case peace was for ever lost. How in fact was he to rally and recover when he was obliged to dwell in a place of passage, in a soul open to all winds, visited by a crowd of public thoughts?

His contempt for relations, his disgust for acquaintances grew on him. "No, everything rather than mix myself again with society," he declared to himself, and then he was silent in despair, for he was not ignorant that he could not, apart from the monastic zone, live in isolation. After a short time would come weariness and a void, therefore why had he reserved nothing for himself, why had he trusted all to the cloister? He had not even known how to arrange the pleasure of entering into himself, he had discovered how to lose the amusement of bric-a-brac, how to extirpate that last satisfaction in the white nakedness of a cell! he no longer held to anything, but lay dismantled, saying, "I have renounced almost all the happiness which might fall to me, and what am I going to put in its place?"

And terrified, he perceived the disquiet of a conscience ready to torment itself, the permanent reproaches of an acquired lukewarmness, the apprehensions of doubts against Faith, fear of furious clamours of the senses stirred by chance meetings.

And he repeated to himself that the most difficult thing would not be to master the emotions of his flesh, but indeed to live Christianly, to confess, to communicate at Paris, in a church. He never could get so far as that, and he imagined discussions with the Abbe Gevresin, his gaining time, his refusal, foreseeing that their friendship would come to an end in these disputes.

Then where should he fly? At the very recollection of the Trappist monastery the theatrical representations of St. Sulpice made him jump. St. Severin seemed to him distracted and worn. How could he live among stupid people like the devout, how listen without gnashing his teeth to the affected chants of the choirs? How, lastly, could he seek again in the chapel of the Benedictine nuns, and even at Notre Dame des Victoires, that dull heat radiating from the souls of the monks, and thawing little by little the ice of his poor being?

And then it was not even that. What was truly crushing, truly dreadful, was to think that doubtless he would never again feel that admirable joy which lifts you from the ground, carries you, you know not where, nor how, above sense.

Ah, those paths at the monastery wandered in at daybreak, those paths where one day after a communion, God had dilated his soul in such a fashion that it seemed no longer his own, so much had Christ plunged him in the sea of His divine infinity, swallowed him in the heavenly firmament of His person.

How renew that state of grace without communion and outside a cloister? "No; it is all over," he concluded.

And he was seized with such an access of sadness, such an outburst of despair, that he thought of getting out at the first station, and returning to the monastery; and he had to shrug his shoulders, for his character was not patient enough nor his will firm enough, nor his body strong enough to support the terrible trials of a noviciate. Moreover, the prospect of having no cell to himself, of sleeping dressed higgledy-piggledy in a dormitory, alarmed him.

But what then? And sadly he took stock of himself.

"Ah!" he thought, "I have lived twenty years in ten days in that convent, and I leave it, my brain relaxed, my heart in rags; I am done for, for ever. Paris and Notre Dame de l'Atre have rejected me each in their turn like a waif, and here I am condemned to live apart, for I am still too much a man of letters to become a monk, and yet I am already too much a monk to remain among men of letters."

He leapt up and was silent, dazzled by jets of electric light which flooded him as the train stopped.

He had returned to Paris.

"If they," he said, thinking of those writers whom it would no doubt be difficult not to see again, "if they knew how inferior they are to the lowest of the lay brothers! if they could imagine how the divine intoxication of a Trappist swine-herd interests me more than all their conversations and all their books! Ah! Lord, that I might live, live in the shadow of the prayers of humble Brother Simeon!"


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