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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
A Remembrance
By Louis Veuillot (1813–1883)
 
From ‘Çà et Là’

THE ANGELUS was ringing. It rang softly, slowly, for a long time. We fell on our knees, praying silently. There was something broken and plaintive in the tone of the bell. I do not know why my heart was suddenly inclined to distrust life and happiness. A serene and profound silence veiled all the joy, all the splendor, of that beautiful day.  1
  “No,” I went on, continuing the thought of my prayer,—“no, the spirit is not deceived in the disquiet which human joy imparts to it! It justly fears to grow fond of these intoxications, and to fall asleep in them. It aspires higher. I dare not ask God for trials; nevertheless, his will be done. And if the sunbeam which now brightens my life must vanish, I consent.”  2
  “And I,” she said in her turn, “thank God beforehand for the sorrows he will send me. As I receive the good things, so I protest I wish also to receive the evil things from him. I firmly believe that he will send them to me out of love. O Lord Jesus, who loved us unto death upon the cross, make us, through the blossoms and delights we now enjoy, to love the road to Calvary and the weight of the cross.”  3
  We pressed each other’s hands and were silent. I see the spot, I recall the words and their accent. Of that incident alone, of all those of the journey, I have forgotten nothing. The sun has vanished, the perfumes have fled, all the joyous sounds have fallen into eternal silence, and even the bell which accompanied our prayer will ring no more.  4
  If I were to return to Chamonix, I should recognize only the spot by the way, and the tuft of grass on which she knelt; and I should go back only to see and kiss the spot. No, my God, my kind just master, I would not weep; or if I did, my tears would not accuse thee! I have always known thy mercy, and in thy punishments have always felt thy love.  5
  All that thou gavest me for the time passed with the time. What matters it that the blossoms have perished, that the songs are stifled, that darkness has followed the sunshine? What thou gavest me for eternity I still possess, although I no longer see it. At thy bidding, death entered my home full of cradles. He took the young mother, he took my little children; and yet I denied death.  6
  In the presence of death, thy Church, our immortal mother, lights torches symbolic of life, and with firm voice sings thy victory over death. Those who are no longer with me, O Lord, are with thee! I know that they live, I know that I shall live. They have gone from life, but not from my life. Can I think dead what is living in my heart?  7
  But, O God! how can they support life,—all those one meets in the world who do not know thee, who run after joy and fear death? Some in mockery have asked me what is hell, and I have answered, “It is protracted life.”  8
 
 
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