LET US AT LEAST TRY TO TEACH THEM SOME MANNERS TO MAKE THEM LIVABLE WITH

An insight into Eugene’s wry sense of humor:

My dear Courtès. just a brief word, through the courtesy of Father Pons. I am sorry to hear that you are suffering from your usual fever. These annoying guests set themselves up as masters in our poor bodies. If we cannot get rid of them, let us at least try to teach them some manners to make them liveable with.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 17 July 1834, EO VIII n 482

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One Response to LET US AT LEAST TRY TO TEACH THEM SOME MANNERS TO MAKE THEM LIVABLE WITH

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    At first glance I ask myself whatever on earth do I do with this? Then I stop and smile at Eugene’s moment of levity; remembering his comment about his own ailment mentioned earlier in the letter. He is commiserating with Hippolyte – his own throat irritation and Courtès’ fever.

    There is a small moment of joy in looking at Eugene in this light; it brings him close, human, real – remembering him as more than just a historical figure, a founder from ages past. Here we have a man who is coping with more than just a throat ailment of his own, and making light of it perhaps in an effort to bring a smile to Courtès.

    Isn’t this exactly what we do with each other when speaking of our ills – much better than allowing ourselves to be ‘brought down’ or to complain about whatever ails us. It reminds me how well-off we are when we can laugh at ourselves.

    I am reminded of the words from a song in the “King and I”: “…getting to know you, getting to know all about you…” I smile as I move to greet the dawn.

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