Clearly not. But drawing near, I
doffed my cap to him with a far-away superstitious reverence. He nodded
back, and cheerfully addressed me. Was I going to the monastery? Who
was I? An Englishman? Ah, an Irishman, then?
'No,' I said, 'a Scotsman.'
A Scotsman? Ah, he had never seen a Scotsman before. And he looked me
all over, his good, honest, brawny countenance shining with interest, as
a boy might look upon a lion or an alligator. From him I learned with
disgust that I could not be received at Our Lady of the Snows; I might
get a meal, perhaps, but that was all. And then, as our talk ran on, and
it turned out that I was not a pedlar, but a literary man, who drew
landscapes and was going to write a book, he changed his manner of
thinking as to my reception (for I fear they respect persons even in a
Trappist monastery), and told me I must be sure to ask for the Father
Prior, and state my case to him in full. On second thoughts he
determined to go down with me himself; he thought he could manage for me
better. Might he say that I was a geographer?
No; I thought, in the interests of truth, he positively might not.
'Very well, then' (with disappointment), 'an author.'
It appeared he had been in a seminary with six young Irishmen, all
priests long since, who had received newspapers and kept him informed of
the state of ecclesiastical affairs in England.