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

Page 66

from Bardstown in the same State and knew many in Louisville, our friendship was sealed from that moment. And our friendship continued and grew closer until I looked upon his dead face in the sanctuary of the Cathedral of Louisville some forty years later. With Dr Mettinger's help I secured rooms where some kind ladies lived in the next street and near the Carmelite church where I could say my daily mass at a convenient hour.

          There was nothing startling in the life at the university. We attended our classes at the appointed time and the rest of the day was at our disposal. We might study at our rooms, in the library of the university, and wherever we pleased. I followed four classes-- two by Dr Mettinger and two by Dr Hergenroether. The former taught Theology and Momiletics [Homiletics] and the latter taught church history and Canon Law. But my main aim was to learn German. A young man employed in the library exchanged lessons with me in language. I remember his name as Herr Gramich, and he was as anxious to learn English as I was to learn German. We often went walking in the country together, and our plan was to speak one of these languages going out and the other when coming in. A kind widow lady also gave me lessons. She was the landlady of the house where Mr Deppen had rooms and the mother of four children. Her husband had been a government privy counseller and the family was highly educated and greatly respected. They were also excellent Catholics. I spent many an evening with them over the German grammar and German books. When I was able to read pretty well I found a German copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin and I used to read from it for them while their tears would flow when listening to the account of the sufferings of the poor Negroes and the goodness of Little Eva.

          For a time I acted as Chaplain for the English Fraeulein, a branch of Loretto nuns, and heard my first confessions in their boarding school where some French pupils could not speak German. Also I said mass for the Sodality of the university students on Sunday at a late hour when it was difficult to get a priest who would fast for this mass, but that did not bother me. The Prefect of the Sodality was to my mind the finest young man in the university. His name was Alois Schaefer, and he lived to become the Vicar Apostolic of Saxony and Bishop of Dresden.

          That summer we had the privilege of seeing the aged Emperor William . He came to Wertzburg to have a conference with Bismarck, although he did not see the “Iron Chancellor.” The Emperor drove from his train to the hotel in an open carriage, graciously bowing to the throngs on both sides of the street, with his head uncovered and his heavy grey sidewhiskers seemingly to extend farther with the broad smile he wore. That night the students gathered in the street in front of his hotel to cheer him, and nothing could be more soul-stirring than the national anthem, “The Watch On The Rhine,” as it was sung that night by more than a thousand voices. And the voices of many of the German students were magnificent. We heard them many a night at the social gatherings of the local societies, and at the united meetings of

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