This life is full of sorrowful things, but the most sorrowful...

La Soverine Litteraire

This life is full of sorrowful things, but the most sorrowful of all is ofttimes the end of those very things. I am sure that the butterfly begins by looking back upon his caterpillar life, in which, drawn out full length upon the ground, well warmed or quite fresh, according to the hour, he vegetated among the cabbages and the lettuce in peace, and laughed at what went on in the air.

It is ever thus with our old ideas; without doubt they were not so good as the new ones, they were not very enlightened; but they were most peaceful and well adapted to the old ways which we scorn to-day,—tallow candles, lanterns, and modern lamps. One lived—I speak of common mortals, and not of the great minds who were always looking for something better—one lived, I say, in a semi-darkness that preserved the eyes of our minds and thus of our heads, but none will say that this was a good period. I am not yet quite old enough to make use of this worn-out expedient, and besides I remember some struggles with candles and snuffers, the horrid smells coming from a lamp when it was necessary to turn it up with a screw, and our hopes for a more practical and brilliant light. To-day we have it, but it must be admitted that it is too strong for us, as witness the frosted globes, the lampshades, and all the accessories that we require to lessen the discomfort of seeing too clearly.

There was quite a little reaching out in other respects in those good old days, and some active minds were already taking the great liberty of stating some unwise questions even to little girls. I remember some confused thoughts which came into my head at the time when I was drilled in the catechism for the first communion and taught about a perfect God,—but one who seemed to me cruel and vindictive. Cruel, for I had not come to understand fully why He had put us down here to suffer and die. Vindictive also; because when we did not know how to love Him exclusively He sent His own Son to the cross. There came to me still others of these scarcely orthodox ideas. It was thus that I asked myself how it could happen that a God absolutely pure and perfect had found nothing better to give to His creatures to house the soul than this mortal body, so ridiculous and so queerly made that it was necessary to think immediately of covering and disguising it.

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