Obrazy na stronie

disported heavy white seams and green she had accompanied me from the dortoir sashes; and those of the other institutions in which my pillow was not to be smoothwore something in the style that prevailed ened by her gentle hand again for at least at St. H.

six long months; and when she had left Every where these coats are kept closely me alone with the President, after having buttoned, and must not be thrown off, even kissed me, with a whispered injunction, for play during the hottest of weather. nearly choked with emotion, to be a good Exercise is, therefore, seriously impeded, boy ;' then I was no longer a "little man” and proves often injurious where it is vio -I was still in my ninth year-nay, I lent, especially in games at ball or wicket. was younger, for I have heard persons Apart from this important consideration,

called “ babies" when tears had been there are reasons of economy that urge an caught rolling down their cheeks slowly, abandonment of this foolish custom. The as if big with a great weight of grief. I expense of those garments, unless they shall not say that I wept-grown-up peoare of coarse homespun, is great; and ple alone may weep-little boys crylittle fellows-looking ridiculously "all and so I cried ! buttoned down before ” like so many pre

It afforded me little consolation to think mature Grimeses—will ruin one coat at that the “ Directeur" was now my guardleast in the course of a year; and it is no ian. He was a smooth-shaven, portly rare occurrence to see a whole skirt severed priest, answering Young's portraiture of a in a very peremptory manner during a

parson : rude encounter at “tag." But the absurdity-nay, the cruelty of

" Fresh color'd, and well thriving on his trade." thrusting a lot of lads into those stiff-laced, His outer dress consisted of the long black draggling affairs, is aggravated by the gown worn by the clergy in Roman Cathoreason assigned for the practice. The lic countries, and by the tutors in all colFaculty say that it is followed from mo legiate institutions over which the priesttives of decency! They seem to think that hood preside. It is in those establisha smart roundabout, or the sight of a pair ments that the church recruits the ranks of shirt sleeves in broad noon-day, must of her ministers; and it seems that the suggest improper reflections in the youth- discipline which is there observed, as well ful mind; and, in their prudish opinion, as the course of studies prescribed, have they hope to obviate the evil by causing been designed almost purposely to fit a the outlines of the person to be rendered young man for scarcely nothing else but indistinct by the folds of an awkward ecclesiastical life. When he has comskirt! Indeed, they carry this horror of pleted these studies, if he be poor, or if any thing like “dishabille" to such an ex his parents be bigoted, or if he really have treme as to compel the students, on re a desire to enter the clergy, il prend la tiring for the night in the common sleeping soutane-as the saying is in Canada, apartments, or dortoirs, to pull their and assumes the title of Ecclesiastique. pantaloons off and on in bed, out of which, This is his first step towards taking Holy as you can easily imagine, broadcloth Orders. He is then employed as a tutor issued in no very presentable plight! or superintendent over the students in

I felt rather proud at first of the aca some College or “ Seminary,” but prodemic livery which I have been describing nounces no vows, and-unless I have forto you; and as on or about the 3d of Sep- gotten how it is—does not bear the tontember, A. D. 1835 (in the afternoon), I sural mark. The first of those vows is stood in the hall or parlor of St. H. Col made when he has firmly resolved upon lege, I deemed myself remote but a few renouncing the pomps of the world, and steps only from huge manhood. There becomes a Sous-Diacre, or under-Deacon. was my large wooden trunk, inscribed His crown is then shaved, and that enwith the initials of my name; the key was titles him to the respect of the Roman in my pocket; and those were titles quite Catholic community. The second ecclesisufficient, I thought, to establish my in astical stage occurs when he professes dependence of apron-strings. I had my other and more austere vows, and takes bedding too, with the cross-legged baudet the degree of Diacre or Deacon. The that every student must bring from home; third and last stage is that in which the and over those personal effects I consider black chrysalis expands into the fulled myself sole inaster and lord supreme.

blown Prêtre. My mother was at my side, confiding As he ascends this ladder, the candime to the tender mercies of the Directeur; date for priestly honors becomes qualiand I, -prodigal lad that I was,-I in fied for the performance of certain sacred wardly rejoiced that I was escaping the rites in the church, and cannot return to rule at home, little dreaming of the ferula worldly life after his initiation as a Sousawaiting me among strangers. But when Diacre. It is only while he is an Ecclé

siastique that he may, if so prompted, it will, in other instances, cast the stucast off his black robe to embrace mous dent into an opposite and very lamentseline-de-laine, or “calico.” He may like able extreme. The compulsory nature wise continue as a simple ecclesiastic all of this discipline will throw him into the days of his life ; thus have I known a open rebellion; or it will so destroy his very fine old gentleman, renowned all over sense of accountability, that he will sooner Canada as an excellent astronomer, and confess a mortal sin which he never was for many years the compiler of the sheet guilty of, rather than accuse himself of a almanacs in use in that country, who midnight visit actually paid to the cornever would take "orders." He remained poration's” melon-patch. From this inattached to the soutane, and was every difference to really solemn rites, he therewhere called an Abbé.

fore soon proceeds to deride them and the But that was an isolated instance of Divinity in whose service they are claimed ecclesiastical eccentricity. Few tarry very to be enforced. long at the threshold. Their salaries at That the clergy shoot thus wide of the college are nominal sums only, and they mark which they seem to have constantly hasten, either to plunge into the busy in view, is not a little surprising, especially round of worldly pursuits, or to graduate when we look at the monastic complexinto the ministry, where they are usually ion of life in their colleges. If the morning provided for as vicars to parish priests, bell does not wake the student, the loud whom they succeed in due course of time. Deo gratias of the superintending eccleOthers, chosen for that arduous task, for siastic is sure to rouse him. He dresses reasons of policy personal to themselves in a hurry, and hastens to prayers in the or the church, -are sent into the Indian

étude or

common study room. These, missions; while a few are retained in the which last some twenty minutes, are said colleges as professors of the higher branch kneeling. They consist of paters, aves, a es of learning, or to fill equally important confiteor, and litany, that are read by an posts in those institutions. The Direc elder collegian, while the Communauté teur is always a priest in the meridian of utter the responses more or less attentivelife, and an able man. He who held that ly, and sometimes with ridiculous cadences position, while I was at St. H., is now the of the voice. Before the breakfast, all reBishop of a rural Diocese, recently organ pair to the chapel, where the basse messe, ized in the province. The Procureur, or or low mass is solemnized by the Direcagent of the college, is likewise a priest; teur. It occupies half an hour, during and though not a man suspected of inti which the students rise from their knees macy with the financial concerns of this at the reading of the Gospel only. No mercenary world, he draws and loosens sermons are delivered, and no singing althe purse-strings of the “corporation lowed, except on holidays, or when a with all the tact of a Wall-street broker. stranger of distinction officiates. On those The Professors of moral and natural philo occasions, the best vocalist present leads sophy, and of rhetoric, are priests also. off in some French hymn or cantique, and Thus, at least, half-a-dozen of these gen is followed by the congregation in full tlemen are to be found in each establish chorus. ment.

Two of the students have to assist in the Their presence is a great auxiliary to ceremonies at the altar, and must commit the maintenance of rigorous discipline. to memory a copious series of Latin reThe students-I mean those who are sponses, in order to well fill their parts. Catholics-must“ go to confess” to them. They serve according to a roll-call preonce at least in every four weeks; for the pared by a sacristain' or clerk of the purpose, no doubt, of obtaining the remis chapel, and are excused from the performsion of those wickednesses for which they ance of that duty in time of sickness only. may not have atoned in due course of Besides this messe, every priest in the mortification in the flesh; and with this establishment "says” his own at a side rule they are made to conform, whether altar, where he is attended by a member they are as immaculate as lambs, or more of his class, or some favorite lad. He has iniquitous than scape-goats. The conse no audience, but officiates privately, and quence of this is obvious. If those institu with less deliberation than the Directeur. tions be the recruiting dépôts of the priest Kneeling time recurs at about half-past hood, they are, from an inverse reason, the eleven, A. M., when the Faculty meets hot-beds of the infidelity which exists the collegians in the “study.” There the ainong the educated French Canadians. President reads a passage from a religious For, if

, in one case, a strict performance book, over which they are expected to reof the religious exercises that there flect during several minutes of silence that abound, converts properly disposed follows; but whether they busy themindividual into a minister of the gospel, selves with “inwardly digesting” what

they have been listening to, or with specu- beads,” the Directeur taking the lead lations as to the proximate chances of a and the Communauté roaring out the poor dinner, I feel incompetent to state ; responses. This exercise lasts about from personal experience, however, I am thirty minutes, and the students are often inclined to think that the latter considera detected in the act of mitigating its severtion engrosses their minds more deeply ity, by kneeling upon the green cloths than the former.

which they use on their desks. The dinner, which follows this exercise, The last long prayer is read in the is eaten in silence, except on holidays and Salle de Récréation, or play-room, in the Sundays, or whenever a stranger is the same manner as the morning's, which it guest of the Faculty, or a student is an equals in length. Finally, while the stunounced as having been for three weeks dents are undressing in the dortoirs, one at the head of his class. He then has the of their number reads a short biography, honor of giving a Deo gratias, which, on

in French, of the saint whose name anbeing proclaimed, sets every tongue in swers to that particular day in the calenmotion. But on all other days, some dar; and when this has been done, and young man occupies a pulpit, where his every body has gone through the contorlungs wield a desperate conflict against the tional feat of pulling off his pantaloons clatter of knives and forks, in the effort to within sheets, the superintending ecclesimake himself heard, out of a ponderous astic raps on the table, whereupon all volume of history. Thanks to the stento must doff their night-caps and sit in bed, rian voice of one of those readers, I once while he rehearses a few brief prayers, learned at the close of a year, that the known as Actes, or professions of Charity, book in his hands was the identical work Faith, Hope and Contrition. which, in the same seat, I had enjoyed the This is a long catalogue, but it does not privilege of announcing the title six comprise two short Latin prayers, one of months previously; and I verily believe which opens, and the other closes, the that a large proportion of the students hours of study and recitation. The first, could not have said whether it was a book an invocation to the Holy Ghost, runs as begun in the year of the college's founda follows:tion, or only the day before.

"Veni, Sancte Spiritus, replè tuorum That incident proves the advantage corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis dignem there is in stuffing simultancously the ascende. Emitte spiritum tuum, et creastomach and mind. As to its disadvan buntur, et renovabis faciem terræ." tages much might be said ; last, but not The other, which is addressed to the least, is dyspepsia, for all who are not Virgin Mary, reads thus:blessed with the digestive powers of an " Sub tuum præsidium confugimus, ostrich. The American practice of calling sancta Dei Genitrix; nostras deprecationes * Waiter !” and bolting the food he brings, ne despicias in necessitatibus ; sed à periis a rational act compared with this dumb culis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo glofeeding in Canadian colleges.

riosa et benedicta," The close of the dinner is always an This “Veni, Sancte,” and “Sub tuum," nounced by the appearance of a younger are each repeated about fourteen times student who comes in front of the Facul every day, the students kneeling on their ty's table, and reads a chapter from the seats, and turning their faces to the wall. book “De Imitatione Jesu Christi." On If now we compute the moments thus this and whatever else has been read, the passed, we will have an average of three " Prex” may question the audience; but hours daily which the students of those he seldom gets correct answers to his institutions spend on their knees; and the vexatious queries. I never thought, nor curiously inclined can easily ascertain, if do I think to this day, that he is entitled they wish. what proportion of a seven to any, good, bad, or indifferent.

years' attendance there is passed on a A lunch at four o'clock is followed by poor fellow's marrow-bones. I have not an opportunity for prayer at the chapel; the patience to do it. Indeed, we must but as it is optional with the students to lose all patience with this state of conimprove it or pass the time at play, none tinual genuflexion. It is capable of progo save the piously inclined, or those who ducing but one sure result, and that is a have a penance to fulfil by order of their big callus on each knee! It may be confessors, or who are sent up by their maintained that this is the best mode of tutors for some mischievous act, which, I remedying a calloused heart, as certain fear, is far from being atoned by their scrofulous affections are sometimes drawn presence near the altar.

from a vital part of the system to another Before supper the Faculty meet the part where they may create less mischief; collegians again in the study, where, on but experience teaches that many young their marrow - bones, all“ count their men look upon the innumerable hours

they have knelt at college as sufficient to The Latin poets are also disposed of in answer the purposes of an ordinary life a very superficial manner. Ovid, Horace, time; and hence are they seldom found and Virgil, are given out in detached pasagain at their “ beads" or prayers. sages. The student is not required to

I should not omit to state here, that the become intimately acquainted with those clergy expect none but Roman Catholics authors themselves; indeed, good care is to conform with the requirements of col taken that he shall not; he is expected lege discipline in this particular. They to grow familiar only with the language do not compel Protestant students to in which they wrote, so that he may be kneel with them, but simply direct them duly qualified to read a Latin Breviary to meet on Sundays in some room where and Rubrique, should he ever embrace they may read their Bibles together. I the ministry. Thus the fourth book of will even go farther, and say that no ef the Æneid is particularly forbidden forts are made to gain proselytes among ground; but often a student devotes more that class of students; nothing of the attention to its right comprehension than kind, to my recollection at least, ever oc he bestows on all the other books put curred during my residence at St. H. together.

What I have stated of the religious The Faculty are likewise the censors of exercises, as a proof of the essentially ec every book in the possession of the colclesiastical character of discipline in the legians, and confiscate or burn up all Canadian college, is amply borne out by works that they condemn as obnoxious. the censorial care with which the Faculty I shall never forget how sincerely I permit the reading of authors by the stu mourned “the loss by fire ” of a new dents. The class-books must always re collection of French anecdotes, some of ceive the approbation of the Church au which, unfortunately for the Parisian thorities before they can be used, and “ Joe Miller” and his proprietor, made have generally been prepared under the light of certain gallant Abbés. On anoeditorial eharge of a Jesuit. The libra ther occasion I was warned that a Myries furnish none but orthodox works. thological Dictionary which I had would All the philosophers of antiquity, those of be forfeited should I ever consult it again. the French Revolution, and our later day, A neat little edition of the “Proverbs," are withheld from the young men.

The which an uncle had given me, was seized histories are conservative and Jesuitical. upon; and that was the last I ever saw of Vone are permitted to read a book which them—in that shape, at least. The pruddoes not excommunicate every partici ish Directeur pounced upon a splendid pator in the overthrow of the Bourbon Atlas, belonging to my neighbor in study, dynasty, or which says any good of the because the frontispiece revcaled good old French empire and its master. The dram Mother Earth, with her plurality of atists and poets are dealt out in morsels breasts, in “a low-necked dress." The or badly garbled shapes. Nothing is owner had reconciled himself to the loss known of Shakspeare, except through of a very valuable work, when, shortly the miserable imitations of Ducis. Milton after, it was returned to him, with a garis too much of a heretic to be on familiar ment of wafers plastered over the poor terms with the Faculty, and Byron too deity's bosom! great a rake—he is never mentioned, while Once in a while, however, we evaded the former is only spoken of in connec the vigilance of our censors; and thus I tion with (I believe) Delille's translation managed to devour “ Orlando Furioso," of his poem. But very learned disquisi the “ Arabian Nights," “ Gil Blas,” “Don tions are read upon the German Klop- Quixote,” and other proscribed works. stock's “Messiade,” if the work itself be On one occasion I was all absorbed with not inflicted upon the students from one Cheataubriand's American novel of "Atafly-leaf to the other. It is nearly the la," when I was “caught in the act.” I had same thing with Le Cid's Portuguese reached a very affecting passage in the Epic, and the Swiss Gessner's " Abel.” book, and, as I could shed tears more Tasso gets a little attention, but in snatches easily then than I can now, my eyes were only. Burns and Tom Moore are as un brimful. I begged-I entreated to be known as unborn New - Zealanders. allowed to finish it. But the "Prof." Frenchmen themselves are treated only a was inexorable, and had no more compaslittle better. All that is furnished of the sion for me than he could have had for brothers Corneille, the Rousseaus, Racine, the poor Indian maid's sorrows over which Boileau, Voltaire, Chateaubriand, Lamen I was weeping. He snatched the precious nais and Lamartine, is a specimen of the book from me, and prescribed the copying style of each, embodied in a manuscript of four pages of Noël's French and Latin class-book, known as Livre de Belles Dictionary during play-hours, as an antiLettres.

dote against the poison I might have im

[ocr errors]

bibed from the author of "La Génie du our laundresses, although we were obliChristianisme."

ged to pay our washing-bills. They lived The secular newspapers of the day were in the village, and came every Saturday strictly prohibited, and no one could dis afternoon to the parloir, but made no cuss politics or other matters of public advances, in word or expression, to rointerest, lest he should hazard opinions mantic young men. unpalatable to the casuists of the college. But, perhaps, I should not be so severe A debating club was tolerated in 1836; in my reflections upon all the women but, because the animating politics of that connected with the college. I ought to period threw one of its sessions into a very except a fine old lady who presided over happy Congressional scene, the “ Prex.” the hospital department. She had been played Cromwell with us, and adjourned. a good-looking person in her day, and our deliberations sine die.

was a very tender nurse. I owe her a Our correspondence was, of course, un debt of gratitude. She was sparing of der strict surveillance, and woe to the bad tisanes or herb - teas, whenever I billet-dou.x that was intercepted! The was taken suddenly ill with an indisposition Faculty held that species of composition to perform any arduous task set before in holy horror. Every thing they could me. I will even admit that I was never say or do was employed to guard us an unwelcome patient; for she always against the blandishments of dear woman. said I was “a good boy to take medicine." The Virgin Mary could be loved; but Once, however, we had a serious misunevery other member of the sex, excepting derstanding. It arose all about a miserthose ladies who perished at the stake, able potion of salts, the efficiency of which and are immortalized in martyrology, was I took the liberty of doubting. She inpresented to us in no very prepossessing sisted. I demurred, and expressed implilight. Had we believed those sainted cit faith in the vis medicatriz Naturæ. woman-haters, it was quite as dangerous The matron was determined; and left me to meet one's grandmother at noon-day, to the alternative of swallowing the deas to run against a pretty cousin of testable stuff, or returning to copy two “sweet sixteen” behind the door. We hundred lines in Virgil, as punishment for were, accordingly, very cautious how we a naughtiness I need not mention here. cast our eyes about when at the parish My choice was soon made,—the salts vanchurch, or in walking out on holidays. ished, but only to return more precipiFlirtations were necessarily rare. The tately than they had disappeared. This most noted affair that I now have in mind settled the point, and ever afterwards the is a bold swain, who fell head over ears kind old lady administered to my extrain love with the daughter of the proud ordinary ailments with a gentle and conSeigneuresse at the village manor. But, siderate hand. -alas! for “the course of true love,"' I said that the matron must have been his passion went unrequited, and his son a rather fair looking woman in earlier nets to the infuriated “Prex.," who thought life; her daughter, who came to visit her proper to expose the poor fellow's secrets for a few weeks, was quite pretty. But, in presence of the whole Communauté. what was a calamity for the peace and The young man was afterwards styled quiet of the collegians, she was a young Monsieur le Seigneur.

widow. Regardless of “Mr. Weller's is Solicitous as the Faculty were of our admonitions to Sammy,” the Faculty Platonism, they could not very well do admitted her within their walls. Her without the presence of women in the advent was the signal for an epidemic institution. But such as they had were among the elder students. The sanitary a great deal worse than none. A glance condition of the institution was probably at the most passable among them froze never worse than at that epoch. Young the heart-a Gorgon's head could not men were stricken down in all their vigor. have done it more effectually. Those fe and the “ Infirmerie” was soon too small males were old, blear - eyed, horribly to receive them. The cases, too, had never marked with the small-pox, and of the been so inveterate before. Treatment of most unamiable tempers in the world. the most violent nature was adopted in Such a collection of unapproachable Ves many instances; but dose after dose distals, Mr. Barnum himself

, indefatigable appeared, and the sufferers still continued as he is in the pursuit of novelties, could in agonies. never have assembled in one room to The matron's skill was baMed as well gether. His achievement with the Ceylon as the village Galen's. In vain did they elephants is child's play compared with put their wise heads together, and devise the success that crowned the Faculty in hot baths and cold, mustard on the soles seeking out the repulsive in petticoats. of the feet, ice around the head, and even

We were not even permitted to choose emetics; every thing failed. The only

« PoprzedniaDalej »