Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 53

the country to a church in some village or merely for exercise. It was unknown that some free American resented the insult in a way that the insulter was wiser and a sadder man.

          On one occasion I made a visit to Versallies and listened to the debates in French Oarkuanebt. Mr. Leboulays, who was a great admirer of America, sent me a ticket on request, but I was not greatly impressed with the dignity of the proceedings.
          It was the Chamber of Deputies, and one did not expect the same dignity found in the Senate, cut when half a dozen members were trying to speak at the same time, and a dozen running about shouting and shaking their fists at one another, and the presiding officer continually ringing his bell for order, it was hard to convince one self that this was a body of men chosen to make the laws for forty millions of people.

          Many reminders of the war were visible around us, the walls of Paris were battered and broken, the forest around the city were masses of ruins ( all the portraits of Mont Valerien, which even the German guns were not able to reduce) the marks of cannonballs are to be seen on many of the large buildings, and the Commune left souvenirs in the blackened walls of the Tuileries and the ruins of the Hotel de Ville, and the wonderful monument to the memory of Napoleon's victories lay a broken mass on the Place Vendome. In the spirit of the people was the thought of revenge. “Wait”, they would say, “Our time will come someday you will see what we will do to the Germans.” It was a humiliating thought that the German Empire had been proclaimed in the Royal Palace of Versailles, and only a French army dictating the conditions of a future peace would satisfy for the present defeat. 

          Everybody seemed to take some interest in politics: yet we saw but few papers, and then mostly the Semaine Religause of some particular diocese. Of American affairs I knew almost nothing unless something might come to me in a letter. On rare occasions I might go into Paris and get a copy of Galigani’s Messenger, the only English paper I knew of in Paris, but this did not occur often enough to keep me up with the current events.

          Now that I was in the old world a thought came to me: I might get an opportunity to visit the land of my forefathers. I knew the address of one of my father's sisters, and nun in work, so I wrote to her telling her of my present occupation and future hopes. Not long afterwards I was surprised at receiving a visit from two young students from the Irish College in Paris. They gave their names as John Browne and Patrick Ryan, and their home as Enniscorthy, Ireland.This was the hometown of my father, and Mr. Browne said he was a relative of mine, our fathers being cousins. The good Sister Bridget, to whom I had written, lost no time in telling the news to the others who sent it on toM. Browne in Paris. It made me feel good to find that I was not absolutely alone in a foreign land, and fix my determination on visiting Ireland. We exchanged visits or notes from time to time and matured our plans for some of our vacations. Another piece of good news came to me also that winter, and that was that my youngest sister had entered the convent of the Sisters of Loretto in Kentucky. I had been the first boy to leave Denver for the seminary, and now my sister had entered the convent and was the first girl to go from there to a convent. 


This page has paths: