Archive for February 2015

The Diary of a Country Priest   Leave a comment


Diary of a Country Priest (cover)

19,20 – Poor blokes! They’ve worn everything threadbare – even sin. You can’t have a “good time” just because you want to. The shabbiest tupenny doll will rejoice a baby’s heart for half the year, but your mature gentleman’ll go yawning his head off at a five-hundred franc gadget. Any why? Because he has lost the soul of childhood.

22 – Beasts have few needs and these never vary, whereas human beings-!

26 – After all, they aren’t to blame if weekly visits to the pictures now supplement a precocious realization of sex, inevitably acquired from animals. By the time their lips could first have shaped it, the word ‘love’ had already become a thing to ridicule, a dirty thing to be hunted with shouts of laughter, and stones, much as they treat toads.

51 – …I often think of the Russians with a strange sort of inquisitiveness and tenderness. If one has known real poverty, its joys, mysterious, incommunicable – Russian writers can bring tears to the eyes.

51 – …I used to do my homework squatting behind the bar on the floor-that is to say a few rotting boards. The dank reek of earth came up between them, earth which was always wet, the reek of mud. On pay-nights our customers didn’t even go outside to relieve themselves; they would pass water where they stood, and I was so terrified, crouching behind the bar, that in the end I’d fall asleep.

55,56 – ‘Teach it to the poor?’ I whispered. ‘Ay, to the poor. God sends us to them first, and what is our message? Poverty.

61,62 – You’ve been holding forth against this woman today who has just bathed My feet with very expensive nard, as though My poor people had no right to the best scent. You’re obviously one of those folk who give a ha’penny to a beggar and then hold up their hands in horror if they don’t see him scurry off at once to the nearest baker’s to stuff himself with yesterday’s stale bread, which the canny shopkeeper will in any case have sold him as fresh. In his place those people would do just as he did: they’d go straight to the nearest pub. A poor man with nothing in his belly needs hope, illusion, more than bread. You fool!

103 – I know, of course, that the wish to pray is a prayer in itself, that God can ask no more than that of us.

104 – We take psychiatrists’ word for it. The unanimous testimony of saints is held as of little or no account.

135 – One can deceive a daughter just as well as a wife. It’s not the same. It’s worse.

154,155 – In those days I was still young and much admired. When you know you’re attractive, that whenever you choose you can love and be loved, it isn’t difficult to be virtuous, at least not for women like me. Mere pride is enough to keep us straight.

159 – What does family prestige matter to God, or dignity or culture, if it’s all no more than a silk shroud on a rotting corpse?’

184 – Why, look at my face,’ I said. ‘Surely if our Lord created it for anything, He made it to be slapped, and it hasn’t been slapped yet.’

188 – When I think of my daily fare, which would not satisfy a pauper, I find somewhat irritating this general amazement at my drinking anything besides water.

209 – ‘Keep at the little daily things that need doing, till the rest comes. Concentrate. Think of a lad at his homework, trying so hard and his tongue sticking out. That’s how Our Lord would have us be when He gives us up to our own strength.

235 – …-God, it all seems simple enough now! I was never young because no one wanted to be young with me.

244 – Injustice sustained at the exact degree of necessary tension to turn the cogs of the huge machine-for-the-making-of-rich-men, without bursting the boiler.

245 – ‘Soldiers? Call’em “army-men.” The last real soldier died on May 30th, 1431, and you killed her, you people.

259 – Keep silent, what a strange expression! Silence keeps us.

289,290 – “There be nothin’ so endurin’ as a woman,” she’d say, “she don’t go to bed till she be dyin’.”

The Diary of a Country Priest

by Georges Bernanos

Posted February 18, 2015 by Mr. Merrick in Books

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