I used to run in the woods, and climb the mountains. I went up the Plomb du Cantal, which is nothing more than a huge hill, with a boy who was, I think, the Privats’ nephew. He went to a Catholic school taught, I suppose, by priests. It had not occurred to me that every boy did not talk like the brats I knew at the Lycée. Without thinking, I let out some sort of a remark of the kind you heard all day long at Montauban, and he was offended and asked where I had picked up that kind of talk. And yet, while being ashamed of myself, I was impressed by the charitableness of his reaction. He dismissed it at once, and seemed to have forgotten all about it, and left me with the impression that he excused me on the grounds that I was English and had used the expression without quite knowing what it meant.

—Thomas Merton,


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