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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lucy's Changing Religious View of M. Paul

Lucy begins to embrace M. Paul's religious side.  When the professor takes the students and teachers to have breakfast in the country, Lucy views for the first time his religious nature:

Mindful always of his religion, he made the youngest of the party say a little prayer before we began breakfast, crossing himself as devotedly as a woman. I had never seen him pray before, or make that pious sign; he did it so simply, with such child-like faith, I could not help smiling pleasurably as I watched (Ch. 33).

Lucy begins to admire his personal faith.  Though a Protestant, Lucy can respect his devotion to his beliefs.  She begins to enjoy his company:

I, too, was happy--happy with the bright day, happier with his presence, happiest with his kindness (Ch. 33)

and cries at the prospect of his going abroad for several years:

Monsieur, how could I live in the interval? (Ch. 33).

Madame Beck sends Lucy on an errand, where she learns of M. Paul's history and how he uses his salary to take care of three people.  This revelation elevates M. Paul in Lucy's eyes:

Whatever Romanism may be, there are good Romanists: this man, Emanuel, seemed of the best; touched with superstition, influenced by priestcraft, yet wondrous for fond faith, for pious devotion, for sacrifice of self, for charity unbounded (Ch.34).

Lucy has a profound respect for "my Christian hero" (Ch. 35).  She is able to separate him from Romanism and see him as a good person, despite his faith.  Her feelings toward Catholicism have not changed ("God is not with Rome," ch. 36), but M. Paul is the wheat among the tares.  And she does not seek to convert him to a Protestant religion:

Strange! I had no such feverish wish to turn him from the faith of his fathers. I thought Romanism wrong, a great mixed image of gold and clay; but it seemed to me that this Romanist held the purer elements of his creed with an innocency of heart which God must love (Ch. 36).

According to Lucy, M. Paul has implemented the good of Catholicism and has not allowed it to corrupt him.  For this reason, they are able to find common ground among their beliefs, causing M. Paul to declare: 

I see we worship the same God, in the same spirit, though by different  rites (Ch. 33).

Nevertheless, M. Paul's Catholic friends warn him of he danger involved in a close friendship with Lucy, the Protestant.  In particular, they fear a possible romantic attachment between the two.  However, Lucy and M. Paul strike common ground in another way:  They both strive to live for others Lucy by starting her own school, M. Paul by giving away three-fourths of his salary to care for his mentor and two others.  This kindred spirit fosters their ability to understand and appreciate one another.

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