I am sure that the sad days and happenings were rare, and that I lived the joyous and careless life of other children; but just because the happy days were so habitual to me they made no impression upon my mind, and I can no longer recall them.
I am surprised that I cannot recall whether my desire to become a minister transformed itself into a wish to lead the more militant life of missionary, by a slow process or suddenly.
Egypt, the Egypt of antiquity, at a later time, exercised a mysterious fascination over me. I recognized a picture of it immediately, without hesitation and astonishment, in an illustrated magazine.
I do not exactly remember at what period I started my museum which absorbed so much of my time.
I was at that time like a fledgling swallow living high up in a niche in the eaves, who from time to time peeps out over the top of its nest with its little bright eyes.
Often, before returning home, I would take a long and roundabout way and pass by the peaceful ramparts from where I had glimpses of other provinces, and a sight of the distant country.
I still went to church regularly every Sunday; that is we all went there together. I reverenced the family pew where we had assembled for so many years; and apart from that reason I hold it dear because it is associated in my memory with my mother.
It seems to me that it will be very wearisome to be a man.
I recall feeling an almost delicious terror when one day I found myself alone in the midst of tall June grasses that grew high as my head. But here the secret working of self consciousness is almost too entangled with the things of the past for me to explain it.
Unlike most other children, - especially unlike those of today - who are eager to become men and women as speedily as possible, I had a terror of growing up, which became more and more accentuated as I grew older.
Painting and music were the only things I worked at industriously and faithfully.
I still have in my memory, almost agonizing impressions of a serious illness which I had when I was about eight years old. Those about me called it scarlet fever, and its very name seemed to have a diabolical quality.
I still held fast to my determination to become a minister; it still seemed to me that that was my duty. I had pledged myself, in my prayers I had given my word to God. How could I therefore break my vow?
My emotions lose their force when I endeavor to interpret them, and my words seem very inept.
But it is true that sometimes an enveloping darkness aids one to clearer vision; as in a panorama building, for example, where the obscurity about the entrance prepares one better for the climax, and gives the scene depicted a more real and vivid appearance.