Page:Historical account of Lisbon college.djvu/66

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56
HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF LISBON COLLEGE.

were not unfrequently laid before the Bishop and Chapter in England, and many whose ecclesiastical spirit could not stand so severe a test, abandoned their undertaking. It would be difficult indeed to imagine a discipline more effective for preparing men to encounter the hardships and privations of missionary life in those days, than the severe regime to which the inmates of Lisbon College were subjected. Indeed even in later and more prosperous times, the very pronounced tinge of monastic severity which marked the regime was preserved, repressing any tendency to niceness or delicacy of self-indulgence.

In the memory of many still living there will be, no doubt, vivid recollections of the early rising at five in the morning throughout the winter months, the half-hour's meditation in the cold church, followed for the younger ones, at least, by long study in the colder class rooms, the heating of which seems never even to have been dreamt of; the many hours spent in class and previous preparation lasting, without a break, from half-past eight in the morning till twelve, and from two o clock in the afternoon until seven or half-past seven; the rigorous and frequent fasts exacted from all whose age subjected them to the Church s discipline, without any relaxation of the close study, and above all the severe Lent during which, even up to the early Forties, no flesh meat was ever seen or tasted from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday. To this must be added those domestic duties which, in monastic houses, are usually performed by the lay-brothers or hired servants, but which each student from the highest to the lowest had to fulfil each for himself.

If a more delicate age has introduced modifications of the system, may it have been without detriment to those sterling qualities which such discipline was calculated to produce!