THE chief object of this little sketch will be attained if it should lead any reader to study the Abbé Lagrange's full Life of Bishop Dupanloup, which is indeed the story of a hero soul. There are several episodes, such as that of Prince Talleyrand's last days, the battle for religious education, &c., full of thrilling interest; and still more instructive are the Bishop's letters on spiritual subjects, for which there is not room in a short memoir such as the following, while his whole path through life, shining more and more unto the perfect day, is well worth following at length and in detail.
The biography is however so long, that a shorter sketch of his work and character may be of interest to many who have scarcely time to master the contents of M. Lagrange's two large volumes. It has been written in a spirit of deep veneration for the great Bishop, and with the desire to give a clear though brief account of his noble life.
Pulham S. Mary the Virgin,
October 8, 1890.
"WE did not give back the whole of Savoy in 1815, since we have kept you," were M. de Salvandy's words of welcome to Bishop Dupanloup on his reception by the French Academy. His Life is full of deep interest, instruction, and beauty; and it is difficult, in gathering a few flowers for this brief history, to pass by many others.
Born in January, 1802, of a humble family at Annecy, his mother, left a widow, and perceiving his rare abilities, determined to take him to Paris, after a holy and happy childhood spent on the hills around the lake, and in 1809 started, with her sister and a cousin, " in a rough kind of outside car," in which they made fourteen leagues a day. Could any one who saw these three poor women with a child, imagine the future destiny reserved for one among them? His mother had the greatest difficulty in paying for his schooling, and when presented for preparation for his first communion at his parish church, he was refused, as too young, although more than twelve. "They said I might come back when I was eighteen!" he wrote. "At last, however, I was taken to S. Sulpice. I remember well the grave and profound emotion with which I first crossed the threshold and went down the steps which led to the lower chapel. Did my soul foresee all that was to come? I saw there upwards of 300 boys; it was an atmosphere of silence, of religion, of recollection, above all of sincerity, which touched me inexpressibly. The looks and hearts of the children seemed positively absorbed by the catechists, whilst they hung upon their words; and everything about these men seemed to me full of a kind of heavenly tenderness. Every feeling of purity and docility, and a longing for well-deserved praise, and an honest determination to do my best, awoke in my heart at once." He asked the same day to be inscribed, and mentions the impression made upon him by the catechist's simple words, "As you wish to be prepared for your first communion, my child, you must be very steady and good; but I am sure we shall be very much pleased with you."
Then began his first experience of the catechism classes, his use of which, as a weapon for good, was to make him famous in after life. "The recollection of my catechism instruction never left me; I began to pray to GOD as I ought, that is, to pray to Him from my heart, and I never left that little chapel without feeling stronger and better." He was tried, he says, " strange to say, by inability to find a confessor. My catechists had sent me to a M. Dehansy, a great man, who was very good, but who was not kind to me that day; for he flatly refused to hear me, saying he had no time. I was very much hurt, and could not understand how a priest could refuse a child who came to him full of affection and confidence to confess his faults. Fortunately for me, in the sacristy of S. Sulpice at the same moment came M. de Keravenant, who, seeing my distress, called me to him, looked at me very attentively, and with great kindness said, 'Well, my child, I will hear you; M. Dehansy is too busy. Come to-morrow to my confessional.'" After his confession, he says, "I went away as happy as a king. I remember so well the joy I felt when I went to my usual game at the Luxembourg. Never had I been so light and active or so successful in my runs; my companions little knew the secret of my success."
It is difficult not to dwell too long on the holy, unclouded childhood of the great Bishop, told in simplest words in his own "Recollections of what I have done wrong, and of the good which GOD has done to me." They are full of instruction as to the way of winning a child's heart. Of M. Teysseire, general director of the catechisms at S. Sulpice, he says, "The moment he came among us his face and expression won all our hearts. When he spoke of the love of GOD, and of the ingratitude of men towards Him, his soul uttered a cry which I seem to hear to this day." Then he tells us of his first communion, amongst more than 500 boys, filling the whole nave, when "with the grace of GOD in our hearts, we felt a happiness so pure and so divine that we seemed to have nothing more to wish for upon earth, that mysterious outpouring of the heart of a child into that of JESUS CHRIST, Who deigns to reserve for that solemn moment His most ineffable tendernesses."
A word said in his ear by M. Menjand, afterwards Archbishop of Bourges, "What he meant to do in life," turned his thoughts to the priesthood, and at thirteen he entered the "Little Community," founded by M. Teysseire for the purpose of seeking out and keeping up vocations for the priesthood. He worked hard, and with brilliant success, but was not happy in his superiors. "O, if they had but treated me as my dear catechists did," he exclaims, "they might have done with me whatever they liked." However he found comfort in going to the "Catechism of Perseverance" at S. Sulpice, which seems to have been formed for young communicants. "It worked admirably," he writes, "and the most distinguished priests acted as catechists."
Felix now passed to the Seminary of S. Nicolas, where, in Archbishop Quélen's words, he became "as eminent for his brilliant abilities, as for his tender piety." "The tone at S. Nicolas'," he says himself, "was thoroughly good and pure. I do not remember once during the three years I spent there ever hearing a loose or immoral word." He left it amidst the most perfect success, and praise from some of the first men in France, "but," he writes, "Courcelles and La Roche-Guyon saved my soul and my vocation, and prepared everything for my ministry."
At the Chateau de Courcelles he became, through a fellow student, intimate with the proprietor, M. de Borie, and his family. "This was my first introduction," he says, "to people at once highbred and profoundly religious. I found there the atmosphere I had always longed for without knowing it, since the catechisms at S. Sulpice, where I had found all that in my dear catechists, together with a tender love of GOD. This piety, this distinction, this kindness and amiability filled all the longings of my heart." His new friends found at once in the Savoyard peasant's son that natural "distinction" which made the first society of France his most congenial element. Happy days followed, during his vacations, his mother being no longer in Paris, but having gone as governess in a family, Madame de Borie was to him a second mother, and "a home was opened to him where he found affection, rest, and happiness; and where his education, at an age when a young man so readily receives impressions, was really completed, and his manners formed by that perfect dignity and courtesy inseparable from the society around him." When he needed rest, he was sent there, and "was the life and soul of everything." Many young people were gathered together, and "not a shadow, not an evil thought crossed our minds," he wrote long after; "thinking over those days after such a lapse of years I can only thank and bless GOD."
The same friend who had introduced Felix Dupanloup at Courcelles, took him one day to La Roche-Guyon, near Mantes, "a beautiful old chateau full of historical interests," the home of the young Due de Rohan, who, on the death of his girl wife, had given up his military career, and become a priest. His house was the resort of the most promising students at S. Sulpice, and it was said that at Roche-Guyon "the diamonds were cut and polished for the sanctuary." He at once recognized young Dupanloup as a true diamond, "he met us in the great staircase, and received us as if we were old friends," the latter writes, "I never expected such goodness." From that time the duke, "foreseeing what might be expected from so fine a nature, made up his mind to adopt, as it were, and specially to cultivate so rare a flower himself," and would not hear of his going anywhere for his holidays but to Roche-Guyon. In a society, the noblest in France, of which "perfect distinction, Christian courtesy, noble simplicity, and ardent faith were the characteristics," the youth, now twenty, ripened rapidly, and amidst this circle of friends he found M. Borderies, who became the father and master of his soul. Being Vicar-General of the studies at the Little Seminary, he noticed Felix, and, perceiving his rare qualities, "conceived an instant and warm affection for him." "Which affection," the Bishop wrote long after, "I consider to have been the greatest of all the graces which GOD bestowed upon me in my youth. He questioned me on my habits, my piety especially. I told him frankly that it was not much. He encouraged me. 'That will all come in time,' he said, with that loving tone of voice which at once made me see the possibility of being better. That very day I began to pray to GOD with greater fervour. I had found a man of GOD, a friend of GOD, and a father to me; some one who loved and esteemed what was good in me, so that I might become better."
Not less kind to him was the venerable Abbé Frayssinous, who under the Reign of Terror would not leave France, but remained hidden for eight years, though performing any sacred office at the risk of his life. "It is the past leaning on the future," he said, as he took Felix's arm at Mgr. Quélen's country home, where they met.
But now the great step in his life had come, his entrance into S. Sulpice. "It was there," he writes, "that I met with that great spirit of the old Church of France, those beautiful and pure traditions of virtue, of sacerdotal wisdom, of piety, respect and docility. It was there that I knew those great and noble souls, who at the beginning of the nineteenth century were inheritors of the past greatness of the French clergy. They were far superior to the clergy of the eighteenth century. Though still young at the time of which I am speaking, most of them had been confessors for the faith at the risk of their lives during the Reign of Terror; many had only lately returned from exile; the Revolution had almost buried them under its ruins. They had the ardour of men who have just come home, the zeal for the reconstruction of religion, and a kind of divine inspiration, mingled with energy and prudence, ever pushing them onwards to conquer back what had been lost."
"We were all on fire with everything that was good and beautiful," is his own account of the life at Issy, the country house of S. Sulpice. He received minor orders in 1821, and describes vividly the impression made on him by the arrival at the novitiate of the Sulpicians of M. de Ravignan.
"I was only twenty, and I had just devoted myself to our LORD, but I had only my poor self to offer, which was little enough. But when I saw that celebrated young magistrate arrive at the seminary, with his grave, clever, strong face, and felt all he was giving up, and the full generosity of the step he was taking, I felt myself invincibly attracted and drawn towards him. .... It was on a Sunday. When the hour of recreation came, we saw a multitude of men arriving from Paris--eminent magistrates, celebrated counsel and lawyers-- all coming to reclaim him whom they had lost, and whom they could not, and would not spare. All of a sudden he appeared at the top of a little staircase in that charming solitude of Issy, and exclaimed with that heavenly smile of his, 'Well, I have planted you there. It's all at an end!'"
Of the two years at S. Sulpice, which decided his whole future, he writes that "the retreats, the ordinations, and the catechisms, more powerful than all, are the most vivid recollections." And now his own powers as a teacher were tried, and were at once felt to be of the first order. The catechism of the boys was given to him. " It was then that the supernatural power of pastoral action over souls was first revealed to me," he writes, after the boys' first communion. "The impression of what divine action could be accomplished by the sacerdotal ministry came upon me with a force and power which has never left me. Since that day, all that does not directly act upon human souls seems to me useless. I never loved even my dearest friends more than I did the children of those first communions. I remembered what M. Borderies had said to me, 'You will speak to them without any difficulty when you have once learned to love and be really interested in them.' The love of souls is, in truth, the great inspirer."
The young Abbé had already that gift, so rare and so precious to a priest, " to win the entire attention of his audience, and by a single word or cry, to thrill the souls of his hearers." When, the next year having been made head catechist, he bade his children good-bye on the eve of their first communion, the boys did not stir, when the signal for departure was given, but remained in their places praying. Amongst them was young Albert de la Ferronays.
Through all his fears in the thought of the priesthood he was helped by M. Borderies. Nothing can be tenderer or wiser than these counsels. "But above all, my dear child," he writes, "do not examine yourself with too much subtlety. . . . Say to yourself, when you feel yourself unequal to brain-work, what you would say to a man who had lost his fortune and who came to you for consolation. Adieu, my dear child. It is especially when you are sorrowful or worried that I feel for you the tenderest and most paternal attachment." "Do not dwell on all that GOD may expect of you," he writes to Felix just before his ordination as deacon in 1824, " it would be enough to freeze your soul with fear. But make a simple resolution every day to forget yourself and to follow the inspirations of His grace."
Felix Dupanloup was ordained priest by Monseigneur Quélen in December, 1825, and was immediately taken by the Archbishop to live with him, as one of a chosen band of young priests, to be devoted to preaching and study. In the palace he found "that good taste, that noble freedom, that exquisite courtesy of the old days, and that indefinable charm which high birth, careful culture, and above all, genuine piety, inspire." At the urgent request of the Curé of the Madeleine the young Abbé had been sent to take his Catechisms, and by the next year the number of children had doubled. He obtained the most extraordinary success, becoming at once "an eminent catechist, the hope and ambition of all mothers," of every class, for poor, rich, even royal children thronged his classes, 300 or 400 attending each class, some from the most miserable parts of the town, and there was no fete they would not give up rather than miss their catechism class. Many of the parents came also; three queens being one day amongst his audience. His main object was to win hearts, so as to transform, gain, and convert them. He used to say that one thing was needful, "love, which the children feel is theirs." "As for himself," his biographer says, "he loved children as no one else has ever loved them. He loved them as a priest, as a pastor, as a father." "Children," he would say, "were the first love of my life, and will be the last." "I must say," he writes, "that among all the works which occupied the first years of my priesthood none have left such a deep impression upon me. No ministerial act, no preaching comes near it. As S. Teresa says, 'I have seen the grace of GOD pounce down on these young souls like a strong eagle, and carry them up from earth to heaven.'"
"It is impossible," M. Lagrange says, "for the best description to give an idea of what these catechisms were--one must have seen and heard them. The effect on the children lasted for life. We have heard old men speak of them as of the great event, the turning point, in fact, of their whole lives." "In this apparently humble apprenticeship to religious eloquence," M. de Salvandy said when receiving Bishop Dupanloup in the French Academy, "where everything passed from your priest's heart to that of your children, without the world's knowing anything of the great work you there wrought, the present century bears witness to your extraordinary success. It was thus that you began to form around you that circle of chosen souls who are the crown of the Church and the glory of your priesthood."
His catechisms were his life, his sole ambition. For them he refused the most tempting offers from the Due de Rohan, Archbishop of Besancon and Cardinal, and even when M. Borderies became Bishop of Versailles and claimed his devoted son, he could not be persuaded to leave his children. He was forced to become chaplain to Madame la Dauphine, the daughter of Louis XVI., and to undertake the spiritual charge of the child of France, of him who was to die in exile as the Comte de Chambord. The children of Louis Philippe were also placed under his care. But all this was with the condition that his catechisms were not to be given up. When the Revolution of 1830 came, then, indeed, he wished to follow the royal family into exile, with the one thought of devoting himself to the training of the boy, in whom he was convinced that the welfare of France was centred. Another priest was, however, chosen for this office.
The outbreak of fury against religion which came with this Revolution was so great that Abbé Dupanloup had to be introduced by a secret staircase into the Palais Royal, where Louis Philippe still lived, to prepare his children for their first communion. Yet the Abbé's first book, entitled "Manual of Catechisms," called forth quite an enthusiasm in Paris, and 1,000 copies were sold the first day.
He made his first journey to Rome in 1831, when the Pope received him with greatest kindness, saying to him, "Tu es apostolus juventutis" On his return the French government insisted that the Queen should not allow him to have anything more to do with her children, on account of his intimacy at Rome with those opposed to the new régime. He would not, in truth, rally round the new monarchy, but it is interesting to read his words of admiration for Queen Marie Amelie, and to hear that "the person who was especially the object of her veneration, her tears, and regrets" was Madame la Dauphine, the exiled daughter of Marie Antoinette.
The deaths of Abbé Dupanloup's two dearest friends, Mgr. Borderies and the Due de Rohan, within a year, brought deepest sorrow to his loving heart, which was to be still more broken by the ruin of his Catechisms at the Madeleine, through the jealousy of a new Cure. It is very curious to read of the Archbishop's struggle with the latter, and of his powerlessness to defend the Abbé. He withdrew him from the Madeleine, and made him first Vicar at S. Roch. No words can express the sorrow caused by this abandonment of the Madeleine.
"At last I am quiet and alone with GOD," he wrote; "let me examine my life and my soul. In truth I have been defeated and humbled. Et causa victa vilescit. Well, I must make up my mind to it, and accept it with courage and humility, make the sacrifice freely and generously.
"All the links are broken,--but GOD Himself has done this. Let me acquiesce in the sorrow; and not being able to do the good which has been taken away from me, let me do that which lies before me.
"On the whole this year has been good for my soul. It has been broken, shattered, and this is well. It has been a heavy cross, but the cross is fruitful.
"I think, in some ways, it has been the best of my years; the one in which I have been the most faithful in my exercises of piety, and during which GOD has given me the most lights and the greatest graces per crucem."
Henceforth preaching and the direction of souls became his chief work. He took his place at once as one of the first preachers of the day. Hitherto, devoted to his catechisms, he had refused all preaching except to his children. It was at this time that he was called to minister at the death-bed of Albert de la Ferronays, and, at the midnight Celebration in the dying man's room, to give him his last Communion, and to his wife her first.
In 1837 the Archbishop appointed him Superior of the Little Seminary of S. Nicolas. We must pass briefly over his wonderful work there. Amongst his pupils was Rénan, who writes, "He spoke to us for more than an hour, describing what he hoped for, willed, and expected of us in the future. When we went out we felt instinctively that S. Nicolas' would be entirely transformed. A noble feeling reigned among us, and carried away everything mean and ungenerous."
M. Rénan writes later, "We all loved our Sundays at S. Nicolas'; it was for us a day of rest and pious joy. There were perhaps rather longer religious exercises in the chapel, but we had also far more recreation. The little meditation was made by our masters in turn, and the same with the Mass. At the Gospel we had a short sermon, which was always practical, animated, and to the point, especially when preached by our Superior. There were no lessons, classical or otherwise. Abbé Dupanloup had banished all profane work on the Sunday as soon as he arrived. The great affair on that day was religious instruction and catechism. One only exception was made, and that was correspondence with our parents, which we were always allowed to do."
We must pass over the charming account of his absolute devotion to his boys, of his power of stimulating intellect and heart, his care for their amusement, his unceasing watchfulness for their souls. Every evening he had a "spiritual reading" with the boys, which was looked forward to by them as the happiest hour in the day. " Every day," M. Rénan writes, "Abbé Dupanloup placed himself in the most intimate relations with all his pupils, whose hearts and minds he probed to the bottom. They were only comparable to the homilies of S. John Chrysostom in the Palcea of Antioch."
"In my recollections as Superior," Abbé Dupanloup adds, "these spiritual conferences hold the first place. That hour was mine above all others; it was then that I could influence, form, and bless so many young souls who will be ever dear to me; it was then that I gave them proofs of a love and devotion which I have never felt more strongly in
Unknown and obscuré hitherto, the Little Seminary became famous. Abbé Dupanloup found eighty pupils, very soon there were two hundred and ten, the utmost number that the house would hold, and the first families in France tried to place their sons under his care.
The remarkable story of the conversion of the Prince de Talleyrand by Abbé Dupanloup, to which he was called during his first year at S. Nikolas', ought to be read at length; we can only quote his own words concerning it: "GOD alone sees the secrets of human hearts; but I ask of Him to give to those who are pleased to doubt the sincerity of M. de Talleyrand, the same feelings which actuated him at the moment of death, the remembrance of which will never be effaced from my memory."
During a visit, in 1843,to Rome, where he had been sent by Archbishop Affre to obtain faculties for the Sorbonne for giving Doctors' degrees, he ministered in his last moments to the noble Count de la Ferronays, as he had done to his son Albert, and formed the firmest friendship with the Princess Borghese, (who died in 1877.) "What he became to her from that moment it would be impossible to say," M. Lagrange says, writing of the "astonishingly minute pastoral care of this priest and bishop, who had so many souls to look after, and so many great works on hand; the treasures of Christian wisdom on the one hand, and of faithful generosity on the other, which their mutual letters display" during a correspondence of thirty-five years.
It was his own interior life which enabled him to do the outward work, and what is most striking and instructive in this remarkable biography are the extracts from his private notes during retreats, and at other times. "His danger lay in the absorption of his mind in exterior works to the injury of his exercises of piety, and his union with GOD."
"Innumerable little details, petty business, small worries exhaust and sadden me, and leave nothing grand or elevated in my thoughts."
His resolutions follow:--
"Every morning on waking, whatever may have been my troubles or shortcomings on the previous day, to rise promptly, joyfully, generously, determined to try and do better, without any sadness; and with this thought that, with confidence in GOD and good will, one can overcome all difficulties; like a traveller who struggles ever onwards, in spite of occasional falls, and arrives at last at his journey's end. ....
"When, as yesterday, there comes upon me a perfect storm of work, to resign myself simply, even joyously, and feel that GOD asks this of me.
"My earnest prayer and resolution--to increase in the interior life. To obtain this, four hours of prayer--two in the morning, two at night,--hours which must be inviolable, under lock and key, as in a tower,--tranquillitas magna, as at the Grande Chartreuse; otherwise I shall have nothing but aranearum teles.
"Then four hours of work in my own room in the morning, which hours must be equally inviolable, otherwise I shall do nothing, and fail in my duty both to GOD and the Church. .... I will rise then at twenty minutes to five, promptly and piously, my thoughts fixed on GOD. From five to seven prayer and mass. Then, from eight to twelve, four hours' work--clauso ostio, and that vigorously. The two other hours of prayer must be the two I find freest in the day, i.e., from five to seven, if not later. The rest of the day must be given to work. But all depends on those four hours of interior life, and next to them on the four hours of intellectual work. By the grace of GOD I hope to keep steadily to this rule."
Happy he who, without wrong to others, could pray for two hours, and work for four every morning, clauso ostio, ending it at noon! But he knew how to yield when told later that a certain amount of exercise each day was necessary for his health, and never omitted obedience to his doctors in this matter.
The struggle in the French Chamber for liberty of religious teaching in which Abbé Dupanloup took a leading part, led to his devoted friendship for the young peer of France, Montalembert, who, "free from all party ties, and with no wish for, or hope of office," was indeed a champion after his own heart.
"Dear and excellent friend," he wrote to him on the 6th February, 1844, "let me tell you in all the simplicity, and with all the warmth of my heart, how I rejoice in your triumph. Nothing will ever again separate us, and we will help each other to serve GOD and His Church as long as it shall please our common Master. . . . You have gained my whole soul."
"What martyrdom is reserved for those who are chosen to fight the battles of the Church!" M. Lagrange truly writes. But we can only most briefly notice the splendid struggle in the French Chamber, when, in 1845, Montalembert exclaimed in the House of Peers, " The question is not at an end for liberty of religious education, ... we remain standing and armed, with one hand on the Gospels, and the other on the Charter. And there we shall wait for you on the same ground next year!"
The Abbé Dupanloup had suffered much in giving up his children at La Madeleine, and now another terrible trial came in his being forced to resign his post as Superior of S. Nicolas', on account of deep difference of idea between him and Mgr. Affre as to the government of the house. Never had it been so flourishing, large numbers being refused for want of room each year, and more priests having been furnished by it to the diocese during the eight years of the Abbé's administration, than during the previous thirty years. He could not trust himself to bid farewell to his children, and left a letter to be read them. "You know how I have loved you," he ends. "At whatever time, and in whatever place we may meet again, and however great may be the distance from this day, you will ever find me the same. My affection for you will always be what it was during your childish days and at the moment of our separation. I embrace, and bless you from the very bottom of my soul. Adieu."
To the Princess Borghese he writes a few days later: "I have had a great wrench in the last fortnight, although personally it may be for my happiness. But the tears of my poor children have really torn my heart. I try to look only to Providence and to march on."
He was at once offered a bishopric, an Archbishopric, and the direction of public education, by the King of Sardinia, but refused his offers.
Mgr. Afire made him a canon of Notre Dame, and he now became free to devote himself to the souls who turned to him. "I must hunt them out," he exclaimed, "and reform ovile meum." Madame Swetchine writes of him at this time to a friend: "It is a perfect marvel that in such a laborious life as his he should find time to write, but it is quite natural that he should find time for you. You are an exception, in the midst of all the good he does; and your soul must be dear to him, as is always the case with those whom GOD has so visibly given to us."
The three years during which he was Canon of Notre Dame were the most brilliant in his career as a preacher; but now terrible headaches, from which he had often suffered, obliged him to take rest by an excursion in Savoy and Dauphine with M. du Boys, who was henceforth to be his closest friend and under whose roof he was to die. They visited Thorens, the cradle of S. Francis de Sales, where they were received by the venerable Count de Sales, and the recent foundation of Lacordaire, not far from the Grande Chartreuse; and were received with distinction by the King of Sardinia, who was to be the noble though defeated soldier of Novara. The Abbé went on to Rome and was overwhelmed with kindness by Pio Nono, then in the height of his popularity.
Of his Advent course of sermons, on his return to Paris, on Prayer, his biographer says: "He was then in the apogee of his powers as a preacher of the gospel. It was impossible to remain cold or unmoved before this man. Whether you would or no he took possession of you, as it were, and made you share in the enthusiasm with which his own soul was filled. His manner also was most attractive, not palpitating and trembling like that of the Père Lacordaire, or austere and prophetic like the Père de Ravignan, but full of force, nobility, and charm. His whole face became transfigured as he spoke, his voice, of which the intonation was beautiful, seemed to vibrate sympathetically in the hearts of all his hearers, while his gestures were authoritative and sometimes even magnificent."
The next few years were taken up with the gallant fight against almost overwhelming numbers which resulted in the victory for religious freedom, and the Education Law of 1850. How Abbé Dupanloup contributed to this by his wonderful pamphlets, by his encouragement and direction of the champions, and especially by his almost forcing M. de Falloux to accept office under Prince Louis Napoleon,--on M. Thiers' promise to prepare, and vote for a law for liberty of teaching,--must be read at length in the Life, where it forms an episode of absorbing interest. But he never forgot the souls of those whose work he most admired and encouraged. "I should like," he writes to Montalembert, the foremost lay champion in the struggle, "to give you a little rule of life in which GOD and your soul could have a little quiet time together. . . . Believe me it would be very useful to you."
To M. de Falloux, shrinking from office, he quotes S. Francis Xavier's noble words, written from the centre of India. "Satius est Dei causa servitutem subire, quam, crucis fuga, perfrui libertate."
In the battle which followed for liberty of religious teaching Abbé Dupanloup was the leading spirit, and, sitting on the commission of the Education Bill brought over M. Thiers and M. Cousin to the side of religion, so that in the end the commission demanded that religion should be the foundation of all teaching. Indeed the former went beyond his colleagues, and wished to intrust primary education entirely to the clergy. " I have lived a great deal in the country," M. Thiers said, "and know a good deal about village life. Well, I find in each village a curé (parish priest). His position is much the same as that of the village schoolmaster, perhaps not so rich; a very humble and lonely position is the best one can say of it. Well, in spite of all that, I never found one who was discontented; I found each kind and cheerful, receiving me without sadness, and ready to talk gaily with me about people and things. But as to the schoolmaster, he was always dissatisfied and miserable; his face, his words, were all full of irritation and bitterness. And the reason of the difference was this: that the priest resigns himself to the will of GOD, and the layman does not."
The Abbé, Montalembert, and others, thought this proposal unwise, and that to substitute one monopoly for another would provoke reaction. They asked but one thing for the Church--liberty in the common right. Lacordaire compared this "concordat of teaching" to the Edict of Nantes.
M. Thiers certainly received new lights from M. Dupanloup's explanations; his prejudices were destroyed and his convictions changed. He was wont to leave his place at the horse-shoe table where the commission sat, and stand, facing M. Dupanloup, drinking in his words with a look of intense interest and enjoyment, as though saying to himself, "At last I have got hold of the truth."
The whole account of this struggle is well worth studying at this time, when the same principles are at stake in England, and the convictions of such a man as Thiers, who was not himself practising religious duties, are noteworthy.
Then came the actual passing of the law, carried in the end by 450 votes against 148, in spite of the vehement opposition not only of the Left, but of the ultramontanes. The Catholic party split up. "This law has cost me the greatest sorrow of my political life," Montalembert wrote. "I have devoted to the cause of the liberty of the Church my life, my courage, and twenty years of perseverance and devotion. I offer to it again to-day, as a last homage, the ingratitude, the unpopularity, and the injustice which this law has brought upon me." A special despatch from Rome expressed the Pope's satisfaction at the part he had taken, but he "never recovered the influence and the prestige with which the Catholics had surrounded him" before the law was passed.
The time had come when Felix Dupanloup was to be called to the Episcopate. "I have fallen at once into an abyss of sorrow and an abyss of work," he wrote on February 4th, 1849, to Princess Borghese, "My mother is dead. . . . A poor priest alone in the world with his mother for forty-seven years, and who loses her, loses everything." His own beautiful account of her death is too long to quote; she did not live to see him become a Bishop. "The Abbé Dupanloup made me take office in spite of myself," M. de Falloux exclaimed, "and I have made him a bishop in spite of him!" He positively declined the offer; then Père de Ravignan was sent to him. "My dear friend," he said, "what day is it?" "Good Friday. What do you mean?" "Yes, Good Friday, the day of the cross, is it not?" "Yes." "Well I bring it to you, and you must accept it, for GOD sends it. You must consent to be made a bishop." "My dear friend, it is impossible," the Abbé replied, "M. de Falloux knows it perfectly well." And he was inflexible. " It would be necessary to break up my whole life once more," he said, "to undertake a fearful charge." But in the end he yielded to the even stern remonstrances of Cardinal Giraud. "The words which decided you," he wrote in Easter Week to M. de Falloux, "have at length decided me! 'Satius est Dei causa servitutem subire quam, crucis fuga perfrui libertate? It is then settled; I give you my sad but certain word--Yes! In spite of the sorrowful influence you will have exercised over the close of my life, you are not the less very dear to me."
The universal chorus of praise at his nomination did not console him; it found him at a moment when he was simply overwhelmed with work. "I have just been preaching the Lent at S. Sulpice, and the Paschal retreat every evening," he writes. "It was a glorious sight, and gave one courage to persevere. Add to this, five or six sittings a week of the Education Commission, two or three hours hearing confessions, and fifteen or twenty letters a day. S. Teresa and her works alone have kept me up during these terrible six weeks."
He escaped to Savoy for a little rest, and then shut himself up for a long retreat at Issy, previous to his consecration, on December 9, as Bishop of Orleans. "I see him now," wrote one of the witnesses of his enthronement in the Cathedral of Orleans, "kneeling on a prie-Dieu placed on the flight of steps leading from the episcopal palace; in the very same spot, where thirty years later, his body was taken to place it on the funeral car. This recollection made a great impression upon us at the moment of his obsequies. He was there, his eyes full of tears, and his whole face so dejected and undone, that an ecclesiastic close to me exclaimed, with evident disappointment, 'But is that Mgr. Dupanloup?' Under his magnificent ornaments he looked like a victim adorned for the sacrifice."
Bishop Dupanloup put himself in communication with his flock by a pastoral letter, read in all the churches on the Sunday after his arrival; and his first Lenten pastoral was perhaps the finest of the series of great Pastorals which it inaugurated. "We must set to work at once," he had said, on the day after his arrival in the diocese, December n, 1849, and it is impossible to give briefly an account of his enormous labours. "Hardly had a few weeks elapsed," an Orleans priest wrote, "when he had visited all the religious communities and all the different parishes; had held council upon council; and had had the most careful accounts drawn up and sent in to him of all that concerned the diocesan administration, whether of persons or things. Everybody, I remember, was stupefied at the incomparable activity of the new bishop."
To every curé he wrote, "My first duty, when undertaking the government of the diocese which GOD has confided to my care, is to know thoroughly the spiritual and material condition of all the parishes of which it is composed." The most precise and practical questions followed,--a powerful stimulus to the cures, as well as proof of the Bishop's care for his new flock.
All was carried on amidst calls from Paris, which might well have filled up the time of most men. Père de Ravignan writes to him in May, 1850, that it was absolutely necessary that he should instal a committee for the protection of free education on a right basis. "Indeed it is so," he says, "all have unlimited confidence in you. Evidently no one else can take your place with these gentlemen." Then the Ami de la Religion, a daily paper, was in his hands. "I have made greater efforts of mind, heart, courage, patience, and money for this work than for anything else on earth," he said. "You (Montalembert) were one of those who wished me most to become a bishop. I told you then that it would be the ruin of the Ami de la Religion. On April I, 1849, its prosperity was unprecedented." There is in these words "the noble sadness of a man who has conceived and undertaken a great work, but cannot find the instruments he requires for it, when too much absorbed in other duties to carry it on himself."
No marvel that under this strain his health should break down, and severe headaches and confusion of sight force him to take a little rest at La Chapelle, the country house, on the Loire, of the bishopric. It was not what any one else would have called rest, for during this summer he brought out his book On Education, which made a profound sensation, and had two retreats for his clergy, so that all might share in them. "The Bishop's health gives cause for serious anxiety," the Abbé Place wrote in September, 1850, "but he bears up miraculously; what he has done since the beginning of our retreats, in addition to his current occupations, would be enough to kill ten ordinary men." A journey to Rome in December, 1850, brought him, he writes, "real rest and refreshment. How much I needed it! How can I be grateful enough for all its sweetness! Locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis. .... I admired everything. It is the pleasantest sensation. Childhood after all is best. Let us at least retain a simple, childlike spirit, if we are condemned to become prudent and subtle as the serpent."
"We live by admiration, hope, and love."
Of none could this be more truly said than of Bishop Dupanloup, who found in those three qualities a continual fresh well of strength. He wrote in his journal the day after his return: " I have come home. My first thought is to adore GOD, with face prostrate to the earth, and to bless and praise Him for all His mercies.
"This journey, which I so much wished for, and which was so necessary to me, GOD has granted that it should be as happy and successful a one as possible.
"And now to work. But,--
"1st. Union with God, inviolable fidelity to all my pious exercises. That is to me light, refreshment, and peace, which are all so necessary in the midst of such agitations, worries, and incessant interruptions.
"2nd. Gentleness and patience with everybody, and with myself; taking my share of sad things. .... I must strive to become another man, more simple, gentle, grave, and good.
"And so to work!"
On his return from Rome in 1855, he gave a masterly Instruction to his clergy, regulating the whole course of study in their schools, from that of young children upwards. "The truth is," he wrote, "that in the edifice of science, as there are grand and lofty summits, so there are humble foundations upon which all rests; here more than in anything else, the means which appear the humblest, form the indispensable basis of all that is great, solid, sublime, and durable."
In the absence of canonical faculties of theology in France, degrees had fallen into disuse, to the Bishop's great regret, who knew their power as a stimulant to study. He accordingly obtained a brief from the Pope, authorising him to confer the two first degrees, bachelorship of arts, and the license; the doctorate was only to be obtained at Rome. The degrees were awarded with great ceremony, in the presence of all personages of note at Orleans, whether in the army, at the bar, or city functionaries, and the large number of young priests who took these degrees, proved the great impulse to study given by their institution.
It is impossible to describe, M. Lagrange says, "the intensity of the energy he infused into everything he took in hand,--works for the poor, works of local and universal interest;" besides his splendid work for the preservation and restoration of his cathedral, and the building and adornment of numberless other churches. He brought everything under rule, not only the whole machinery of diocesan administration, but especially that of his cathedral, drawing up with his own hand the rules for even the choir boys.
One object of his most special care was the first appointments of his young priests. "On this," he said, " might depend their perseverance, and even their salvation. When I was Superior of a Seminary, I often used to say, in watching our more fervent seminarists, O if these young men could only remain together, or near one another when they leave the Seminary, how they would help one another to persevere, and what admirable priests they would become!" He therefore made it a principle to securé for his young priests as far as possible this kind of holy association, and direct dealing with souls, "for otherwise," he said, "they would die of ennui and regret."
He devoted four months in 1853 to pastoral visitation, parish by parish; and between 1854 and 1857 he visited the four hundred parishes in his diocese. Having tried the plan of confirming only in principal places for the different parishes in the neighbourhood, he decided to visit and confirm in every parish. "Ite ad oves" he said, "it is I, the Bishop and pastor, who am to go to the people, and not require the people to come to me. It is these words which have decided me. In every parish visited by the Bishop, and where he gives Confirmation, every one, almost without exception, gains some help towards his or her salvation."
It was his custom to send a missionary priest before him into every parish before holding a Confirmation there, who remained for a fortnight or a month, and gave a mission under the name of a retreat. He had five bands of missionaries at his disposal, who were like flying squadrons which made sorties in all directions, and through whom he was able to give a hundred missions in the diocese every year.
When he arrived in a parish himself, nothing escaped him, either in the church, or at the presbytery, or the behaviour of the curé and parishioners, and all impressions were recorded in notebooks, kept always under his eye, like a permanent agenda concerning his 400 parishes.
"The boys ought never to be in blouses," he notes at one Confirmation, "it is the public-house dress, and they think they may do as they like in a blouse."
A Confirmation became what he meant it to be, a powerful religious movement for the whole parish, and it was a time when he looked up the status animarum which he expected each curé to keep,--spiritual statistics concerning each soul, their names, reception of Sacraments, &c.
Of one cure, who had written the history of each soul in his parish of 2,000 or 3,000, he writes, "O my LORD, Thou also must have written in Thy book, which is the book of life, the name of this zealous pastor, who has taken so much time and trouble to write down in his register the names of all the sheep Thou hast confided to him!"
Bishop Dupanloup made it an obligation for the future, that all whom he should nominate to cures should receive their assistant-priests as inmates of the presbytery, and live a common life with them. The paternal and pastoral care of the curates was, he said when near his death, the last recommendation he wished to address to his clergy--his novissima verba. In ten years, by greatest efforts and sacrifices, he added a hundred and thirty priests to the number of his clergy.
During his first Lent at Orleans he began the famous courses of sermons which gave him such power with men. He had a large space surrounded by a barrier reserved for them in the central nave. On the second Sunday this space had to be enlarged, and at last he had to give up the whole nave to men, to the great displeasure of ladies, one of whom wrote to him, " The wicked and irreligious are going to church! Do you not see, Monseigneur, that with the best intentions in the world, you are ruining religion?" " Another one like that," two magistrates said to one another, in a salon in the evening after a great sermon, " and we shall have to give in!"
Perceiving the impression made, the Bishop had a special retreat for men, which was attended by twelve hundred men every night. He had never in his best days in Paris spoken with such effect as in Orleans. Here each word seemed alive with the feeling that he was speaking to his own children, to souls whom he cared less to charm than to gain and save. "You will find out how to speak to them when you get to love them," Mgr. Borderies had said to him at the beginning of his catechisms; and he spoke to his people with the yearning which a father's heart alone can give.
Placed in face of the people of his diocese, whose souls he so dearly loved, his own suddenly caught fire. "I think I have your hearts already," he exclaimed, "when will you give me your souls?" "The sources of his inspiration were the prayers and meditations in which every morning he conversed with GOD, filling his mind with holy thoughts which sprang spontaneously to his lips."
His crowning triumph was in Lent, 1858, when quiet "conferences," for men only, begun in a little chapel, had to be adjourned to the vast cathedral, which "could not contain the throng of men of all conditions of life who crowded to hear him." He ended with a retreat for men in the cathedral during Holy Week. The whole city crowded to it, the numbers increasing every evening, until over a thousand had to be turned away from the doors. Then on Good Friday he bade them make up their minds once for all, and prepare for their Easter Communion, telling them that he would himself be in the cathedral, and listen to every one--coachmen, workmen, soldiers, and all others. They took him at his word, and on Easter Eve he was hearing confessions until midnight, as well as all his priests.
"How can we describe the grand scene on Easter Day?" a gentleman wrote. "The Bishop had given up the whole of the choir and sanctuary to the communicants. Amongst the crowd of men, of every age and rank, were over a hundred grenadiers of the guard, ranged on either side of the altar, nearly all wearing the Crimean medal. For an hour and a half the Bishop himself distributed the Bread of Life to the souls whom his heart had won."
One of his greatest works was entirely to reorganize the Catechisms, on the model of those he had formed in Paris. "Great was the astonishment of the young vicars of the Cathedral and of other churches when they saw the Bishop appear at their Catechisms. He entered, sat down, listened, and withdrew without a word. But his silence was eloquent." Space does not permit an account of his work for the little children, of his thought for the minutest things that would help and impress them. "Nothing could be so delightful as to see the children's intense enjoyment of these first religious instructions. They would decline any amusement, not to miss their catechism." At the same time the Bishop carried on the transformation of the Seminaries, which became crowded with pupils from the best families; and though his chief object in his care for them was to obtain priests, he insisted on a thoroughly liberal and classical education, in spite of a vehement attack in the Univers against the study of the classics in Christian schools. The literary fetes held at the Seminary of La Chapelle, the Bishop's country house, excited deepest interest at Orleans, and were talked of far and wide; members of the Academy and others distinguished in literature accepting the Bishop's hospitality on these occasions, when Greek plays were given with great success by the pupils, amongst them dipus at Colonna, the scenery being painted under the direction of a friend of the Bishop, who had lived many years in Greece.
The Bishop's enemies ventured to declare that he had instituted in his seminaries "a system of education of which paganism formed the basis," and that his instructions were "a passionate appeal in favour of the renaissance of paganism," and lastly, "that he was a son of Voltaire!" He defended himself with his usual dignity and ability, going to the root of the matter, and arguing that to the Bishops it appertained to determine in what measure the classics, Christian or pagan, should be used in any school confided to the direction of their clergy. The result of the whole was that the clerical schools were saved, and the authority of the Bishops vindicated. The fame of the struggle, in which he had stood forward to defend liberal studies, caused the Scientific Congress to hold their session, in 1854, at Orleans, inviting the Bishop to be their President. His splendid speech, in which he celebrated the alliance of religion with literature and science, and with all the greatest triumphs of human intellect, was greeted with enthusiastic applause.
The Bishop was elected to the French Academy in May, 1854, at the first scrutiny, and in November his reception took place. "Rarely had the cupola of the Institute witnessed under its vault a larger or more brilliant assembly." It is impossible to give extracts here from his great oration, magnificent both from a Christian and literary point of view, and we can only mention in passing his delicate allusion to the sceptical principles of his predecessor, to whom it was de rigueur that he should allude. "I do not like controversy with the living," he said, "I have a horror of it with those who are gone. What I have sought in M. Tissot has been something which might have proved a possible ground of rapprochement between us, had I been so fortunate as to meet him in this world. I have acted with regard to him as I have with every soul whom GOD has been pleased that I should meet in my path in life. What I have sought for first, has not been that which separates, but that which brings us together; not dissension, but agreement."
In politics, until they affected the Papal power, he took no part, but accepted the axiom that "in a time of revolution, and in a country subject to revolutions, the Church lets them go by, and takes no active part." At the time of the coup d'état he wrote: "What I want is to live as in a Theban desert, far from noise and agitation, and occupied only in] working for GOD. How I enjoy this solitude, this peace, this silence, which I find in resuming my work and the study of S. Teresa!"
Still for the glories of France the Bishop's heart beat high, and few of his orations are more touching and magnificent than that pronounced during the Fête de la Pucelle, at Orleans, in April, 1855, "a truly wonderful effect of oratory," writes one who heard it, "which for five quarters of an hour kept us entranced, deeply moved, and roused in turn to enthusiasm, indignation, and compassion." It was, indeed, a subject worthy of him; "three scenes: Domremy, Orleans, Rouen. Three dramas: the idyll, an epopée, a tragedy!" In the picture he drew of the fight, he was so intrepid, ardent, and warlike, that a brave general among the audience exclaimed, "What a soldier he is! If he were in command at Sebastopol we should not be long in taking it." But the Bishop went on to show the moral fitness of the glory of Joan of Arc having been crowned with martyrdom. "Ah!" he said, "if Joan of Arc had ended her career in opulence and earthly delights, if she had become a great princess, or even if, in pursuance of the natural and simple wish of her own heart, she had gone back to Domremy, we should have had a princess more or less exemplary, or one pious shepherdess the more--the melody of a grand and marvellous epopee between two idylls. Instead of this, we have what is far greater; a lesson which can never be forgotten, a poem truly divine, such as GOD can write it. .... This is why the crowning grandeur of our story is at Rouen. The grace is at Domremy; the glory is at Orleans; the triumph at Rheims. Then the morrow comes, and the sad presentiments, and at length the real immortality, which is only found at Rouen.
"Noble child and martyr! accept this homage from a Bishop of Orleans; it is with great joy that I have rendered it. I leave you now with regret; but we are not strangers to each other; we shall meet and recognize one another some day. We have both, in our turn, served this noble city, this people so brave, so generous, so full of honour and enthusiasm for all that is good and great. You saved the forefathers of those who are now my children in JESUS CHRIST.
". . . . Some of them are as yet only so in hope; but they will all be so, I trust, some day in spirit and in truth. I believe I have won their hearts; when will they give me their souls too for our good GOD? Their souls! Ah, it is for their souls that I would give a thousand lives, if I had them, like a drop of water!"
Bishop Dupanloup might have suffered less at this time had he been blinded by the Emperor's professions of respect for the Papal possessions, but he saw plainly that they were but professions, and threw himself into the breach by an impassioned published protest Henceforth, instead of the calm he longed for, his life was passed amid struggle and calamity. Prosecuted by the Siecle for his vehement and crushing reply to its attack upon the Church, he was defended by M. Berryer, and the Siecle was cast in all its three pleas, and humiliated before all France.
The Bishop himself appeared in the High Court, and spoke. "You talk of honour," he cried in the course of his speech, "do you think, then, because we are priests, that we have neither hearts nor souls? . . . You are astonished at my emotion, but you do not consider that the Church, which you outrage every day, is more to me than if I were merely her bishop; I am her son, and she is my mother."
He was now indeed in the thick of the battle, perpetually writing as well as working. He was up at five every morning, said his prayers and his mass, and wrote from seven till noon, and this every day. "There are but two men in France, Lamoriciere and the Bishop of Orleans," was the exclamation of General Trochu, when the former undertook to form a Pontifical Army.
In the midst of troubles the Bishop turned with increasing tenderness and warmth to long-tried friends, and especially to Montalembert. "Your letters," he wrote to him, "give my heart joy and rest amid the number of others which arrive daily to worry and distress me. . . . The most difficult thing in this world is, not to do our duty, but to know what that duty is. Patience, silence, peace, --these are the best conditions for the future. Your writing will always be dear to me, whatever it tells me. I have a constant heart, and a mind not disposed to quarrel with those I love." At Roche-en-Breny, Montalembert's home, with its great halls and heraldic devices, with proud grand mottoes, "Bien ou rien" "Plus d'honneur que d'honneurs," for example, the Bishop found a congenial resting-place. In the midst of his enormous labours and press of business, he yet found time to read and correct the proofs of Montalembert's "Monks of the West," with an assiduity which amazed even the author himself. "I can never weary," the latter wrote, in 1860, "my dear lord and true friend, of telling you how I am touched by your kindness. To be good in the sense which our beautiful French language attaches to the word, and to be good when one is besides so strong and great, is to approach as near perfection as possible."
Alas! when the second Empire was in the height of its power, at the Congress of Paris in 1856, and the Emperor the virtual arbiter of Europe, Bishop Dupanloup saw only too clearly the moral plague which was eating away the nation's heart. "Impiety," he said in a public discourse, "is fatal to nations; it drags them down to their ruin. . . . The barbarians are already at your gates, and in the midst of you; for impiety is barbarism, and our social elements are feeble and powerless to resist it. ... You will continue to be born, live, and die, in luxury and dissipation. Your children will be like you; fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, will be undeniably magnificent and elegant. But in time, and by a just retribution, you will see a fresh generation; who will have no respect, no principles, no manners; of these the Scripture speaks; and one day, when impiety and barbarism have laid this superb and enervated society in the dust, you will become a people without an altar and without a GOD; and you will then see what kind of future the ceaseless advance of luxury, of indulgence in pleasure, and of the pride of materialism, are preparing for the strongest and most cultivated of nations."
These words were true; the warning was grave and serious, and preluded future miseries; and he had every right to speak as he did, with the authority of a prophet. But, alas! who cares for what prophets say?
The Italian war in 1859 aroused in him deepest anxiety; and his health gave way. He was very desirous to resume his Lent lectures for men, but on the first Sunday in Lent "was so ill," M. Lagrange says, "that when we went to him during vespers, as he had desired, to tell him that a magnificent audience of men were waiting for him,-- we found him in bed, and he said with tears in his eyes, 'impossible!' After a moment's silence he added, 'Ah, my friend, thus to see the fruit hanging from the tree, and be unable to stretch out one's hand to take it!"'
"What I have to provide for," he wrote in his journal at this time, "is the end of my life, and the years of old age, if I am permitted to see them. Possibly, if so it pleases GOD, I may still have ten years to employ in the service of souls, and in endeavouring to render the labours of the past more fruitful.
"But this will only be done by settling my course of life, and passing these years in calmness and peace.
"I have nothing more to create in my diocese; but I have to consolidate, to perpetuate, to put in practice, and this firmly and gently, without violence.
"I must carefully choose my occupations, simplifying details as much as possible, setting every one to work, and getting from each one the best work he is able to do.
"GOD never requires me to disturb and agitate myself. Sollicita es, et turbaris erga plurima. How truly that was said of me!
"I have to continue and complete all I have done in the diocese until this time; and let it all work peacefully, calmly, and in order.
"I must strive after greater gentleness, sweetness, and patience with each one; practise silence also: always seeking for calmness and peace with GOD.
"With these conditions, there may perhaps be for me senectus in misericordia uberi."
During Bishop Dupanloup's visit to Rome in 1862, when preaching at S. Andrea della Valle, "the audience, carried away by the warmth of feeling with which he spoke, broke out into loud and long-continued cheers, which were thrice repeated." There was a lull in the Roman question at this time, and the Emperor openly said that the Bishop of Orleans had been the most French of all the bishops at Rome, and expressed "his lively satisfaction and his thanks" through a letter to the Bishop from the Minister of Public Worship. The Bishop's surprise was great. "I have done nothing at Rome," he wrote to M. Cochin, "but what I have been doing for three years. I served the Church and my country there, as I have served them always, and as I shall always serve them."
Menthon, not far from Annecy, and Lacombe, M. du Boys' beautiful chateau in the Vale of Gresivaudan, became more and more necessary to the Bishop as places of rest. "Has your sun still a glance to give me, and your lake a smile?" he wrote. "For me, I work fourteen hours a day, now and then looking up to heaven to learn where the true rest is to be found." ..."I have as usual found Lacombe, what I always found it, a place to which no other can be compared," he wrote to M. du Boys.
This was his day when resting:--After his long meditation, which he made walking up and down the terrace of the chateau--each chateau had a terrace--his mind raised to GOD by the very splendour and beauty of the prospect before his eyes--and after his mass, which he always said, when at Menthon, in the oratory of S. Bernard-- the remainder of the morning was devoted to work. This was his idea of rest--work and prayer. The amount of papers he brought with him was enormous. No one ever felt more than he did the presence of GOD in nature. "Among the things of earth," he wrote pleasantly, "the mountains are almost the only ones which never come down from their height."
His enjoyment at Lacombe was the mountains; but Menthon was especially Savoy, and Savoy embodied all the memories which made his soul overflow in gratitude to GOD. "I always revisit the lake and the mountains of 'my childhood with pleasure," he wrote to M. de Menthon.
He never once stayed at Menthon without going to Puya, near Annecy, on the shores of the lake, the place he had lived at from five to seven years of age, and they were anything but formal visits, for they awakened in him--and for this reason he always went alone--a deep sense of the goodness of GOD, a sort of permanent action de graces within him. These are his words:
"Sept. 25, 1850.--Walked by myself to La Puya --a delightful walk. Confidence always seems to be born anew within me there, mingled with tenderer feelings, and a clearer sight of GOD'S goodness, and profound gratitude for the benefits He has conferred upon me, which are greater than I could have believed possible."
His journals at Menthon are full of memories of his mother, and thoughts of his early days, while surrounded, both there and at Lacombe, by some of the most eminent men in France. "A vigorous intellectual life reigned habitually in these two chateaux, and seemed to redouble in intensity when the Bishop came. .... At Menthon one day M. Rio, one of the friends whom he attracted thither--and he attracted a great many of all sorts, laymen and ecclesiastics, in this hospitable home--read through a whole book of his Art Chrétien, then unpublished; and M. Sauzet often read a fine chapter of the great work he was writing on the Civil Code, which unfortunately has not been published yet. Lacombe especially was a kind of focus of intellectual light; we might call it a workshop of literature."
But the Bishop never failed to turn these holiday visits to account by working for the good of souls. To Madame de Menthon his arrival was "as a fresh light, a fresh impulse of fervour, a step onwards which would encourage her for a long time to come. With all the generosity of her disposition, she required this support. Every nature is exposed to suffering from the special gifts bestowed upon it, because with these gifts there are corresponding wants and feelings in our imperfect humanity." To another, a young girl whom he had met in a family where she was governess, he wrote, in 1862, from Paris, again from Marseilles, and again from Rome, for the more important affairs of the Church could not make him forget a soul.
Amongst Bishop Dupanloup's most valued Conferences were those given to mothers, during many years, in Advent. He felt deeply the exaggerated impulse given by the Empire to luxury and pleasure, and, assembling all the clergy of Orleans, insisted strongly on the duty of counteracting this movement, which had made itself felt even in Orleans. "Dignity and gravity of manners was what he regarded as the honour of the city he called his home, and to touch it was to touch the apple of his eye." This was the motive of his Conferences to the Christian mothers in 1860,1861, on every Saturday in Advent, and which, in 1862, he extended to the beginning of Lent. He continued them in 1863, 1864, and 1866. They were perfectly simple and familiar addresses, spoken without preparation, and from the fulness of his experience of life; dealing with the most serious duties of wives and mothers, and spoken by one who was thoroughly acquainted with his subject, and treated it in the most practical manner. He entered into the very heart of Christian life; demanded, apparently, only what was easy and accessible to all; but what would, if observed, make his hearers real saints in the world, nothing more nor less.
In 1863 Bishop Dupanloup published the forcible pamphlet, sent to all the members of the French Academy, which procured the defeat of M. Littre, the head of the Positivist school in France. "The study of his writings made the Bishop shudder. But how was it possible to exclude from the Academy a writer who from other points of view had such indisputable titles to literary distinction?" With M. Thiers he had a memorable conversation. "What a noble soul this would be, if it were only Christian!" the Bishop wrote of him to a friend. The most unhappy of all in the matter was the excellent M. Ampere, divided between his affection for the Bishop, whom he deeply regretted to displease, and his principle of liberty of conscience, which he feared to sacrifice. There was a curious exchange of correspondence between the Bishop and this honest Academician, who, on the second ballot, abandoned M. Littre. As a final result, atheism did not succeed in entering the Academy, and the Bishop of Orleans that day was the one who barred its passage. The only thing which astonished him was that he was solitary in his warning.
"Yet there are philosophers in France!" he exclaims at the conclusion. "Can sound reason, any more than true liberty, find no defenders among us? Will they leave me to speak alone?"
The next year, 1864, Bishop Dupanloup was forced to oppose the crowning, by the French Academy, of M. Taine's history of English literature. He brought with him to the debate the three big volumes, and pointed out forcibly that throughout all its contradictions, one principle lay of fatalism and materialism, stated for the first time in these words, "Vice and virtue are products, like vitriol and sugar." The effect of the series of quotations which he produced " was terrific;" and in the end the Academy refused the prize by thirteen votes to eleven. The success of the Bishop's publication, "Letters on the Studies suited to a man of the world" was a surprise to him, as well as a consolation. He felt he had laid his ringers on an evil which was really felt, and had responded to a want which was general and real.
Again, in the winter of 1863, he took refuge at Rome for rest and refreshment. "It was wonderful," he wrote, "what GOD did and put into my soul during that time. He opened my heart, enlarged, and softened it, and with this softening He introduced the love of Himself in a marvellous manner. How I feel this now! I never in my life experienced similar feelings. What a grace!" He found extreme delight and confidence in repeating with S. Paul, Dissolvi, et esse cum Christo! "I desire nothing else. But I do not wish for this ardently enough. I am too much afraid. We ought to love, and love should drive away fear. And to feel that our LORD is all in all for me; that He is my FRIEND! that He has made me His priest, everything! And to desire only one thing: to be with Him; and meanwhile to work for Him, and for the souls which are dear to Him, and for His Church which so greatly needs it, with complete personal detachment and disinterestedness, in constant dependence on and confidence in our LORD."
Returning to his diocese, he set out on his usual pastoral tour. The contrast was great between the splendours of Rome and the simplicity of village life in the Orleanais, and was all the more grateful to him. "Oh, human souls! there is nothing else in this world really worthy of love and admiration. Nothing else is really beautiful; and whatever their sufferings may be, whatever even may be the cause of those sufferings, they are invested with an interest to which nothing else can be compared. No; there is no deeper and more absorbing interest than to study them, to discover what it is which stirs those mighty depths, the emotions, transitory or permanent, the sudden impressions, the noble inspirations, the generous impulses, which move them, whether we look into the candid and ingenuous soul of childhood, or when GOD permits us to scan the innermost depths of one of those troubled and storm-tossed spirits of which S. Teresa says that 'one alone is in itself a world'"
At the Congress of Mechlin, where the Bishop of Orleans for two hours kept an immense audience hanging on his words, there was an amusing incident. He was afraid he was going on too long. "Do not be alarmed," he said smiling; "I have put my watch there." There was instantly a cry of "Take away his watch!" and a young member of the committee immediately removed it amid general laughter.
Whatever may be thought of the Italian question, or the temporal power of the Pope, it is impossible for any one with honourable feelings not to sympathize with the Bishop of Orleans' indignant denunciation of the Emperor's crooked policy, professing to defend the Pope, while giving him up to Piedmont. The Convention of September, 1864, arranging for the withdrawal of the French troops from Rome, and the declaration of the government that the Pope's celebrated Encyclical and Syllabus of December, 1864, were "contrary to our fundamental institutions," caused all eyes to turn with expectation to the Bishop of Orleans. "Has Achilles retired into his tent?" was the question put, not without some irony, by a minister of state to a bishop. Certainly not, but he would choose his own time for speaking. The interval between the debates in the Italian Parliament and the opening of the French Chambers seemed to him the most favourable moment. When on Saturday the 23rd of January, 1865, the Paris newspapers distributed through the capital, and carried to every part of France, the introduction to the pamphlet, the public, it is not too much to say, were carried away by the torrent.
Owing to legal delays, the book could not be put up for sale until noon on Tuesday. During this delay, that is to say, during the next day, Sunday, Monday, and the morning of Tuesday, telegraphic despatches fell like rain upon the publisher from all parts of France. Being at last offered to the public at noon on Tuesday, by two o'clock there were none left; and the bookseller's shop was thronged with a dense crowd which overflowed upon both sides of the Rue de Tournon, and whose impatience it was impossible to satisfy. A second edition was started at once, and two presses worked day and night. In a few weeks thirty-four editions of the book were turned out. These were the questions: Is it true that Rome is definitively surrendered by a Convention? Still more important: Is it true that Rome has definitively broken with liberty, civilization, and modern society? And an answer had been given to these two questions by the man whose voice was the most listened to in France.
In September, 1866, Bishop Dupanloup took the occasion of a terrible inundation of the Loire to issue a pastoral in which he tried to bring before men's minds the two-fold change which he perceived: the increasing progress of evil, and the general indifference of even good people. The material prosperity of the country and the superficial security of the Empire lulled to rest a society which was both careless and frivolous, and the most menacing warnings brought neither apprehension nor uneasiness. He accordingly published a pastoral entitled "Misfortunes and Signs of the Times."
"Impious and revolutionary doctrines work no longer underground," he wrote, "they also have burst their barriers. Yes; this is what alarms me most, and makes me dread the most terrible calamities for the latter part of this century."
This impressive pastoral was an accusation as well as a warning. It raised a tremendous storm. The more he was in the right, the greater was the irritation. The press in Paris and in the provinces broke out against him with furious anger. Manifestly, the very idea of a GOD was in danger; and society, sapped to its foundations, slept blind and indifferent on the edge of a precipice.
The storm only determined the brave Bishop to speak more loudly; he resolved to enter into details, and to say everything respecting a situation so full of danger, and he entitled his new work "Atheism and the Social Danger."
During a retreat of ten days which Bishop Dupanloup made alone at Lacombe in March, 1867, "refreshing his soul by examination, meditation and prayer," he wrote in his journal: "Profound sweetness at finding myself alone in this house; silent, alone with GOD and with myself, free from human interruption. The interior life was greatly strengthened .... particularly in 1860, 1863, 1864, and 1866. It was enlightened and warmed by the love of God and of souls ever increasing in intensity within me, and also by confidence in God inspired at Einsiedeln by Père Claude; a feeling which I might almost call new, so greatly and powerfully did it take possession of me. . . . For since GOD has been so wonderfully good to me, has so visibly chosen me, has thought of me with so marked a predilection, ought I not to give myself up to Him entirely for time and for eternity; for the years which remain to me and for my salvation .... and for the approach of death? Therefore, Quid retribuam? Thus must I show my thankfulness.
"For the interior life: all is contained in the love of God in Christ Jesus, and in the love of souls for God.
"The love which I owe to our LORD ought to be a love of entire dependence, every hour; like a child towards its mother; desiring nothing for myself, looking always to Him with detachment and entire personal disinterestedness, to desire and to do only that which is pleasing to Him every moment, always with joy, for love, and by His grace present with me.
"Not to feel necessary to anything, and to be ready for all that GOD wills. Clearly to understand that GOD has no need of me, for any soul, for any work, for any danger, for any battle of the Church. He will raise up more useful instruments than I am, whenever He pleases."
After the retreat he went to Rome, where the calling together of the Vatican Council was being considered. Mgr. Ketteler, Bishop of Mayence, "one of the most brilliant members of the German Episcopacy," wrote to him at this time; "I should be deeply concerned if the infallibility of the Pope and other important points of doctrine should be suddenly decided, and, as it were, by the way. My personal conviction is that this is not the moment to add to the number of dogmas." . . .
On his way to Rome, to attend the Vatican Council, in November, 1869, the Bishop visited his sick friend Montalembert. It was the last time these two noble souls met on this side of the grave. At the Villa Grazioli, prepared for the Bishop near the old walls of Rome, the news reached him, in February, 1870, of his friend's death. "I think of you continually, my dearest friend," the Bishop had written to him, "in all your sufferings of mind, and soul, and body. What is so heart-breaking is to be able to do nothing for those one loves. But I am having prayers said for you in all our communities, and by all the best priests and holiest souls I know. I do not know why my thoughts have gone back to our old days at La Roche-Guyon. What have we done since, you with your sixteen, I with my twenty-four years? I can say that amidst all the storms and troubles of life, we have both honestly striven to serve GOD and the Church: and GOD has given us the grace, in spite of the pain, of which you have learned to appreciate the value, of meeting with ingratitude. . . . The Church is Divine, assuredly; but it rests on men; so that in her history there are lights and shades."
In another letter to M. de Montalembert not long before his death, the Bishop wrote, "You have had a public life full of glorious struggles, and have been nobly occupied in fighting the battles of GOD and His Church,--a life of which the honour will remain to you for ever. But in this life, by the very necessity of things, have you not been forced to make it an external one, and been too much occupied with outside interests, and not enough with that inner life which is hidden with CHRIST in GOD? When you are so distracted by agitations from without, unless you reserve to yourself some quiet time of solitude and silence between yourself and GOD, there comes a moment when one falls back sadly on oneself, and one finds a void, a weakness, a gap in one's life which before one did not suspect.
"You have, I know, experienced this,--the secret is, that you did not live enough with GOD. Remember, I do not say, give up altogether your exterior life, or your interest in public matters, not the least in the world. I do not wish you to retrench anything in your mind, your studies, your readings,--I only want you to introduce a new element into it all,--more interior life, which not only would not destroy the other, but would help it and give it a new element of strength. .... With your rare talents, what spiritual treasures you could amass in that way. I add to this little rule, more frequent Communion,--Panem de Clo, all is there; and to facilitate this interior life you must jealously guard that precious hour in the morning exclusively consecrated to GOD,--read no letters, no newspapers, and receive no visits before that." This letter was marked by Montalembert in red ink with the words, "admirable, helpful, inappreciable."
He wrote to the Bishop only a month before his death,--"Dearest Lord and Friend,--I may say without exaggeration, that my mind is continually occupied with thoughts of you, and that I am always following you from the Villa Grazioli to the Council Chamber. But whenever I think of you my heart is overflowing with joy, confidence, and tenderness. .... You whom I have known for the last forty-five years, the warm friend, the good physician, the devoted servant of souls, the model of catechists, of confessors, of educators of youth, besides being the most vigorous of the defenders of the Church and of the Holy See, and the most vigilant and most admirable of bishops, your whole life preaches to me and consoles me; yet at this moment all is forgotten, misunderstood, insulted! I should like sometimes for you to be even more isolated, more vilified than you are, so as to be able to love you with a more meritorious and exclusive affection. .... Tell Him, tell our dear LORD, Whom you so faithfully serve, and to Whom you consecrate each day, tell Him that there is at least one soul who remains passionately faithful to you, because this soul you have enlightened, taught, perhaps saved. I must stop,--for when I write or think of you I get so excited that my strength fails me."
In truth Mgr. Dupanloup's attitude at the Council may be summed up in a few words. "He deliberately made a sacrifice of his immense popularity to a deep and honest conviction." Unable to vote as the Pope wished, he and Mgr. Strossmayer thought that, out of respect for Pius IX., it would not be well to pronounce the non-placet in his presence, but to content themselves by protesting in a letter, which was duly drawn up and signed by sixty bishops. Accordingly, on Sunday, the I7th of July, at half-past seven in the evening, the Bishop of Orleans left Rome with the Bishop of Colocza.
He returned to his diocese to throw himself into the breach wherever an attack was made on Christianity. One of his most powerful pamphlets was against an insidious attempt to make the education of girls irreligious. He disclosed the existence of free-thinking schools for girls in Paris. He showed what were these authorized public classes; he tore the veil from the materialism of the School of Medicine in Paris; and finally he pointed out the immense propaganda organized for the universal dissemination of impious doctrines. And the alarm was taken.
M. de Montalembert, writing to a friend, says, "The Duchess of Galliera, who has just returned from England, found your last pamphlet in the hands of the Duc de Nemours, who was painfully impressed by the revelations which it contains. And the effect was even more strongly marked in Lord Russell, who was perfectly aghast on learning through you the things which are allowed to be published in the French Empire."
Sorrows followed each other rapidly. The Franco-Prussian war tore his heart both as a patriot and a Bishop. Orleans was taken. The Bishop was in those sad days the one resource of the humbled Orleanais. An ambulance for fifty wounded soldiers was maintained by him in his palace for five months; and his intercession with the King of Prussia was successful in obtaining a remission for his city of 80,000 francs a day, in money or kind, for the maintenance of the army of occupation. He also obtained safe-conducts for the wounded to return to their homes, instead of being sent to Germany as prisoners of war. "As you wish, Monseigneur," the Bavarian General said to him, "it is you who must give orders here. I have received orders to do what you wish, and not give you any annoyance."
But when, after the temporary retreat of the Germans, Orleans was a second time occupied, by Prince Frederick Charles, the treatment of the Bishop was very different. The whole palace was occupied by Prussians, and two sentinels placed at the Bishop's door. He was kept prisoner in his bedroom and study. An ambulance of 250 wounded Prussians was established in the palace. They wanted to expel fifty of the French wounded, but the Bishop's indignation was such that they were obliged to desist. "Never," he exclaimed, "shall such an infamy be committed under my roof as long as I am present. If you do so, I leave."
A close prisoner in his room, without news or letters, and not being able to read or write at night owing to his eyes, the Bishop felt these winter evenings sadly long. But what he saw around him broke his heart. "As to what I myself suffer," he wrote on the 20th of December, "it is comparatively nothing. But the poor! the unhappy wounded! the miserable prisoners! the poor parents! . . . . Poor France! What will become of her? How many evils to be remedied--and how powerless one is to remedy them! . . . . What is to be done? Only to work on .... to do every day what one can, and what one ought. .... Our good GOD asks only that .... but He does ask that! Even for the future, and with great aims and hopes, to labour on without looking for success; to think only of what one can do for the service of GOD, of one's neighbour, of the Church, of France .... striving one's utmost, but leaving the issue solely to GOD, and willing to be called home without having the consolation of seeing anything done or saved."
On January 3, 1871, he writes, "Sixty-nine years of age--the age of M. Borderies! He said to me one day, 'Ah, my child, how many hard blows you will get in life!' How his words have been realized! How many deceptions I have found! My catechisms, my love for children, my hope of reconciling the Church with modern thought; of bringing back France to the faith; of saving so many souls; of reforming my whole diocese!"
After the war, Orleans chose their Bishop as Deputy to the National Assembly. "At my age," he exclaimed, "with all my other work, and my broken health, it is too much!" But he could not refuse the unanimous appeal. "I will give my life for them," he said. Thus, at sixty-nine, he began his political career, if one may so express it, representing alone the Episcopate in the new Parliament. The very day when he was to leave Orleans, the Commandant came to tell him that the Prince Royal of Prussia had arrived at Orleans, and wished to pay him a visit. The Bishop thought it would be more courteous on his part to go to the Prince. He came back charmed with the noble feelings he expressed.
The Bishop was occupied with his new duties, through all the horrors of the Commune. His sadness through that terrible struggle may be imagined. One day at Versailles, when going down the Rue Satory, he met a long file of Communist prisoners, the first who had been captured. "Look," he exclaimed, "it is an army of atheists. But the guilty are those who led them astray. It is the infidel writers who have pushed them on." "When, some years ago, I wrote Atheism and the Social Peril, I denounced the danger, but in vain. I cried, 'To-day the war is against GOD; to-morrow it will be against society.' Only four years have passed, and all this has already come to pass; and Paris is in ashes." "Do not make to yourself any illusions as to the situation of France," he wrote to M. Thiers; "do not strive merely to be clever, and to get her out of a scrape; but make her once more religious, and so great."
For a moment the negotiations with the Comte de Chambord gave him hope, and he was persuaded to go to Chambord and try to influence the Prince, in whose restoration he believed lay the best hope for France. But, though most affectionately received by his former pupil, he obtained nothing. The Bishop urged a delay, entreating the Prince either to come to Versailles, or to summon to Chambord deputies of every shade of opinion in the Assembly. The Prince replied, "It would be useless. I have made up my mind." The manifesto was signed that very day, July 5. In it the Comte de Chambord declared that the white flag which had waved over his cradle, should equally overshadow his grave. M. de Falloux wept when he read the manifesto, exclaiming, "This is the suicide of the Comte de Chambord."
Worn out and exhausted by the Versailles sittings, the Bishop's health was seriously impaired, the sadness of everything adding to his fatigue. Where he longed for union, he only saw every day wider separation; and was almost in despair at the terrible misfortunes of France, at the increase of impiety and atheism, "and above all, at the frivolity, the irreflection of even good men." He made a retreat at his beloved Einsiedeln; and, in 1872, the state of political affairs was such that he thought seriously of giving up public life altogether. "Ah, dear and venerable friend!" M. de Falloux wrote to him, "I understand but too well all the disgust with which your soul is filled. .... But is it for ease and rest that we are placed in this world? If you wish to judge fairly of the sudden blank which your absence would create, and the consequent consternation of all honest men, ask your enemies, and the enemies of the Church, who would be wild with joy."
During the debate, in which Bishop Dupan-loup gained the victory, in March, 1872, as to the bishops having a seat in the Council of Higher Public Education in France, M. de Pressense had said that "there might be some unknown school or college where classical studies flourished, but that he had never found any," and "that if they existed they had better make themselves known'1 The Bishop of Orleans answered, "I beg to reply with all simplicity to this charge, and that by stating that I have already done this on several occasions." And he then and there invited M. de Pressense to come and assist at the representation of dipus at Colonna, which was to be given that year at the seminary of La Chapelle. M. de Pressense accepted the invitation, came, and was one of the first to congratulate Mgr. Dupanloup on the performance.
Once more, in 1873, the Bishop of Orleans made an effort to remove the obstacles to the monarchy; and, first, the divisions between the royal houses of France. The Orleanist princes agreed with him, and to the Pope the Bishop wrote: " In this terrible position, there is only one hope of safety for France; that is, the hereditary monarchy. At this moment, neither the army, nor the greater part of the nation, will give up the national flag. Noble scruples have, doubtless, hitherto kept back the Comte de Chambord. But without pronouncing in favour of any of the parties which are now convulsing France, could not the Holy See remove these scruples? Could not your Holiness make the Prince understand that a flag is not a principle, that in this fidelity to a symbol there is a consideration far above it all--the salvation of France, the interests of the country, of the Church, and of society?"
The Bishop sent this letter through Cardinal Antonelli, to whom he wrote: "The Comte de Chambord has made a principle of this flag, but that is a grave error. When one studies the history of France, and sees through what changes and vicissitudes this flag has passed, one is the more astonished at the persistence of the Comte de Chambord in identifying monarchy with a symbol which has so often been changed."
The Prince, however, "wrote again to the Bishop a letter which destroyed all his hopes."
Yet another gleam of hope came when, in May, Marshal Macmahon succeeded M. Thiers, and the Comte de Paris, in August, paid a visit to the Comte de Chambord. The Bishop of Orleans was delighted. "We must," he wrote, "re-establish the monarchy. Never have circumstances better served a great cause, and whatever is done must be done at once. It is evident that the present Assembly is the best and the most Christian which France has had for centuries." A certain number of deputies instantly combined to try and bring about a majority in the Chambers. Alas! on October 27 the Comte de Chambord "published a manifesto which threw discord in all their ranks. The Bishop hurried to Versailles, and there found a state of things which was one of the greatest sorrows of his life. The majority so painfully obtained was gone."
In spite of advancing age, the Bishop was the first on foot in his palace, as in his seminary; that is, between four and five o'clock in the morning he began his prayers and meditation, which never lasted less than an hour. After saying mass and the "Little Hours" he set to work without interruption till twelve o'clock. Those five hours he called the cream of the day. The last few years he was sometimes obliged to give himself a little rest at ten o'clock, on finding that his writing suffered from over-fatigue. After the twelve o'clock meal he received his visitors, and often took them with him to the banks of the Loire or to La Chapelle, profiting by this daily walk, which had become a necessity to his health, to give a look at his little seminary, finish his breviary, &c. Faithful to his rule of giving half an hour to spiritual reading, his favourite works were those of Fénélon and Bossuet. After his walk he again devoted himself to business and to his immense correspondence. The evening closed with a quiet talk with one or other of his priests. At nine o'clock every one went with him to the chapel for night prayers; and his fidelity to this point in his rule, and going to bed directly after, was so well known in Orleans, that, even in his great receptions, when the clock pointed to that hour every one slipped away, leaving him alone at nine as he wished.
The fruit of all these devotions was shown in the superhuman efforts he was always making to subdue his too ardent nature, and to learn greater gentleness, patience, sweetness, and meekness. In every meditation he makes this the main point. "S. Francis of Sales," he would exclaim, "he too was violent by nature, but how he conquered himself! I have been meditating this morning on gentleness, and that not without cause. .... I must draw up a book on this subject, with passages taken from Holy Writ, S. Francis of Sales, and other saints, and examine myself by it at least once a week, I. To foresee the occasion; to prepare my words; to raise my heart continually upward towards GOD for help in moments of difficulty, or when I feel myself tempted to give way; to keep silence when possible; never to let myself go; these means would help me. 2. To avoid all explosions of anger or impatience; to foresee; to prevent; to keep them in if they arise. .... I know how difficult it is for me; how often I fail. .... I cannot strike the right note; I speak too quickly or too loud; I am too eager, too impatient, too easily roused. At least, let me avoid any open manifestation of this grave fault, which dishonours my character, while I maintain the necessary firmness. It is better to err by too great gentleness than by excess of vivacity."
People used to smile, though with respect, on seeing him pass in the little carriage, which certainly no one but himself would have used, with the old horse which the Seminary lent him with the coachman, for he never had any of his own. The short cloak in coarse cloth he had on his shoulders when he died was the same he bought when he became Bishop. In his bedroom a poor little iron bedstead, a deal toilet-table in a corner near the fire-place, and a few old chairs were the only furniture. At La Chapelle his bed and sitting-room were one, and only some white curtains hid his bed, while a great bureau, covered with letters and papers, was its sole ornament. An Oriental Bishop whom he received in this room said to the Vicar-General when he went down stairs, "I expected, with my Oriental ideas, to find the famous Bishop of Orleans in a beautiful palace with every luxury. Now that I have seen him in such poverty and simplicity I find him still greater." This extreme simplicity was the result of his prodigal charity.
In spite of his efforts for monarchy, the Bishop of Orleans was, in 1875, made an irremovable Senator under a definitely constituted Republic by being elected a member of the Senate. "His great art in the House, as in the pulpit, was that he was so heartily in earnest." "It is not religion by which you are threatened, but it is religion which you need!" he boldly said in a debate on the Education Law; and again, "Take what you will, but leave us the souls of our children!"
"You must be terribly tired, Monseigneur," a member exclaimed one day after a long speech from the Bishop which had secured a triumphant majority in the division. "No, no!" another member retorted, "a flame like that does not tire!"
But the flame was consuming him. He was forced to ask for the help of a coadjutor Bishop, who was consecrated in November, 1876, and in the following May a sudden illness, at first supposed to be gout, attacked Mgr. Dupanloup. He retired to La Chapelle, "where an unexpected trial and painful attempts at curé were reserved for him." He worked on at his writing and episcopal business, and began a series of "Letters on the Education of Young Girls." There was no weakening of mind, but a steady decline in his physical strength.
The doctors sent him to Hyeres for the winter, where his days were regulated as at Orleans, and where he heard of Mgr. Pecci's election as Pope, of which he wrote as "one of the greatest joys" of his life.
He returned to Orleans for Holy Week, 1878, and fought one more victorious battle in the Senate against any recognition on the part of Government of the centenary of Voltaire. Just before the debate he published ten letters on Voltaire, which "placed an ineffaceable stigma on that leader of impiety." "The apparition of the venerable old Bishop at the tribune, who had the courage to stand up alone against the idol of the century, and try and save his country from Voltarian impiety, touched every one deeply."
He left Orleans for the last time on August 10, 1878, hoping to go on to Rome in October. He was much grieved at being unable to assist at the triennial feast of the old students which took place that year. " My children," he wrote to them, " have compassion on an old wounded soldier, who for the first time misses the roll-call." He went to Lacombe, where he arrived on August 16, where M. du Boys had given him his own-apartments, on the ground-floor, from which he could step out on the terrace. But after a little rest, nothing would dissuade him from making a retreat at Einsiedeln. He arrived there on September 7, and began his retreat the next morning, not ending it until the i5th.
The good Father Claudius, who had been for many years his confessor, came and said many consoling things to him from S. Augustine's works: "Si te accusas, Deus te excusat. Gemina dulcedo in pectore Jesu. Longanimitas in expectando, facilitas in condonando. JESUS CHRIST is there, at the bottom of your heart, judging you with sweetness, compassion, and mercy." Thus he spoke to the dying Bishop, who was accusing himself, in spite of his superhuman labours, of not having done enough. "He said to me at last," the Bishop added, "'Go your way, and be at peace. Gaudete in Domino: Pax Dei, quæ exsuperat omnem sensum!"
He returned to Lacombe on the 25th, "more exhausted than ever in body, but, as it were, transfigured in soul."
"We all felt," Mdlle Netty du Boys wrote, "as if this retreat had been the apogee of his spiritual life. We feared for his days on earth when we heard him talk of GOD, or saw him at his prayers, or heard his mass. .... Everything about him made us realize his close union with GOD. Very often in the day we found him in the chapel absorbed in prayer; and when he came out one felt there was a sweetness and a calm which seemed to exhale like a perfume from his soul. One would say that he was already living in the region of infinite charity. .... The human vivacity which formerly mingled with his zeal for justice and truth was now absorbed in an ever-increasing sweetness. One might have said that the intrepid angel of the battle had become an angel of sweetness and peace."
"Childhood, which was the first love of my life, will be equally the last," Mgr. Dupanloup had said at the French Academy, and the following story is too pretty to be omitted. M. H. Lacombe came to present to him one day at La Chapelle, his little boy, Bernard, who was just three years old. The child had smiled, and held out his arms to the venerable Bishop, with his gold cross and loving face. The next day Mgr. Dupanloup wrote him the following note with his own hand:--
"La Chapelle, S. Mesmin,
"30 August, 1875.
"MY DEAR CHILD,--When you are able to read these lines I shall be no more in this world. But they will remind you of an old Bishop who loved your good parents very much, and who blesses you tenderly with your loving smiles."
In the house where he was now staying he found a child whose features were an exact reproduction of those of his father, whom thirty years before the Abbé Dupanloup used to carry over the mountain torrents and used to teach to serve his mass. This little Joseph brought back, therefore, his favourite little Felix of old time. . ..." It was the most touching sight to watch the affection between the old man and the child. With all the audacity of five years old, he asked for and obtained everything. He would slip into his room in the morning when no one else dared disturb the Bishop, would scramble up on his table, and scribble all over his paper with his pencil which was cut at both ends, often breaking the blue point. Then he would get hold of his pastoral rings and put them all on in. succession. 'Let him alone!' the Bishop would exclaim, when any one tried to stop his liberties.
Then he would draw the child down to his armchair, and lean his poor head, weighed down with suffering and age, against the little blonde curly head lifted up to his. He would keep him a long time like that, talking to him gaily and paternally, and answering his many questions. One day in telling him a story, the word 'glory' escaped him. 'Monseigneur!' exclaimed the child, 'what is glory? 'I did not know how to answer him!' said the good Bishop with charming frankness. The question of this little child had embarrassed the old man covered with glory, and had reduced him to silence."
"On Friday, the 11th October, he had had a few hours of refreshing sleep," Mdlle du Boys writes, " and felt better. At eight o'clock he read some of the 'Life of S. Vincent de Paul,' sitting in an armchair by the window, which he had opened wide to see the beautiful view of the Alps lit up by the bright sun. He did not complain at all, but was bright and calm, and grateful for every little thing done for him. He smiled upon us all as we came near, and seemed as if he were waiting for something--he was indeed waiting for GOD'S call. . . . He went on praying and working as usual, his trembling hand turning over the pages of his MS. (on the Education of Young Girls), and now and then he stopped to play with the child, who, as usual, had seated himself close to his writing-table. He even corrected some proofs of his book, which the publisher received the next day with the news of his death."
He was carried into the drawing-room after his three o'clock dinner, and remained there until the sun had set, listening to reading. His favourite mountains were glowing with rose-coloured hues: he cast a look upon them, and then begged to be taken back to his own room. "I am afraid I shall not be able to go to the chapel to-morrow morning," he said to the young Abbé Chapon, whom he had brought with him, "you must bring me our dear LORD here."
But even in his mortal weakness, within two hours of death, he was at the service of a soul he loved. "A few minutes later, one of the guests at Lacombe, a young man whom a great sorrow some years before had touched, wished to make his confession once more to the Bishop. Mgr. Dupanloup heard him, and spoke to him with his usual clearness, goodness, and sympathy."
At half-past six the Abbé Chapon left the Bishop, who went back to his MS., but after a few minutes' work gave a cry, and seemed suffocated: the Abbé Chapon rushed in, they gave the dying Bishop ether, and he revived sufficiently to follow the last prayers. M. du Boys came in; and saw the Bishop supported by his faithful servant Jules and by Andre (his own servant), while his dying lips were pressed to the Crucifix. An instant later the Bishop gave a deep sigh, his head fell forward on his breast, and he expired in the presence of his oldest and youngest friends. It was on a Friday, October 11th, 1878, at five minutes before seven in the evening; he was almost seventy-seven years of age.