Page:Historical account of Lisbon college.djvu/65

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55
HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF LISBON COLLEGE.

that funds which could only with difficulty supply the dinner, were not likely to be adequate for providing the supper; and, indeed, we learn from a document preserved in the archives of the House, that meat for supper was a luxury in which our ancestors could only occasionally indulge, and that two pounds of rice were often served out as a meal for the whole Community.

If water was the beverage for breakfast, there was allowed for dinner and supper a limited portion of weak wine, left after its fermentation without any preparation or addition of spirit, possibly a more exhilarating though, probably, less palatable drink.

When we contemplate men like Daniel, Godden and Sergeant contentedly sitting down to a boiled onion for supper, and for their other meals partaking of that small portion of the allotted food which the extreme poverty of the establishment afforded, the words of Pope St. Leo readily suggest themselves: "Semper enim virtuti cibus jejunium fuit." The President and Superiors shared the same food with the lowest student in the House, and the poverty of the Establishment did not permit them to receive any pecuniary recompense for the duties which they performed. All rose at four o clock, breakfasted at eight, dined at eleven and supped at seven.

Such was the manner of living at the College till long after the period of which we have been speaking; such its state when at a word from their Superiors our Missionaries abandoned all their prospects, sometimes their comforts in England, to fly to its assistance: such the Establishment which even in the days of pinching poverty, as now in pleasanter conditions, was able to attach to itself the affections of its children in as great, if not greater, degree than any other foreign College. We need not be surprised, however, if, whilst great numbers cheerfully submitted to these inconveniences during the whole course of their studies, others were found who took occasion from them, to attribute to the mismanagement of the Superiors the hardships which they had to endure. Hence charges and complaints