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Chapter 14


A RELIGIOUS INCIDENT

A little religion can be mingled with this justice. Here is an example.

Frederick Morin, like Arnauld de l'Ariège, was a Catholic Republican. He
thought that the souls of the victims of the 4th of December, suddenly
cast by the volleys of the _coup d'état_ into the infinite and the
unknown, might need some assistance, and he undertook the laborious task
of having a mass said for the repose of these souls. But the priests
wished to keep the masses for their friends. The group of Catholic
Republicans which Frederick Morin headed applied successively to all the
priests of Paris; but met with a refusal. They applied to the
Archbishop: again a refusal. As many masses for the assassin as they
liked, but far the assassinated not one. To pray for dead men of this
sort would be a scandal. The refusal was determined. How should it be
overcome? To do without a mass would have appeared easy to others, but
not to these staunch believers. The worthy Catholic Democrats with great
difficulty at length unearthed in a tiny suburban parish a poor old
vicar, who consented to mumble in a whisper this mass in the ear of the
Almighty, while begging Him to say nothing about it.

Victor Hugo