Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Path to San Francisco...

One of the things I like about the recent name change on this blog is that *I*, the quiet behind-the-scenes moderator, get to post interesting tidbits once in awhile. Here's my first - one I simply had to pass along the minute I saw it - especially given some slightly negative press that Belloc's had here in the past...

Anthony Esolen at Mere Comments tells this story about Chesterton’s friend Hillaire Belloc: “It seems that when Belloc was serving as a young man in the French army, he met an American woman with whom he fell passionately in love. Once discharged from the army, Belloc sold his beloved complete set of the works of Cardinal Newman to scramble up the money for boat fare across the Atlantic. He landed in New York, and walked across the continent to San Francisco, supporting himself by manual labor. When he arrived at the young lady’s door in California, he proposed to her on the spot. She agreed. It was a long engagement — they were married seven years later, when she was 25 and he was 26. Read those last sentences again, carefully. Unfortunately, their happy marriage was broken by the early death of Mrs. Belloc, at age 43; and Belloc had already lost a son in World War I, and would lose another in World War II. But whatever you may say about the man’s writings and his polemical opinions, Belloc lived.”
hat-tip Semicolon Blog

3 comments:

Mamselle Duroc said...

I've heard so many negative things about Belloc, but the more I read about him the more I love him. In many circles Belloc has been presented as more akin to a devil, so it was thrilling and wonderful to find that he was, in fact, a man.

I've been reading A.N. Wilson's biography, which seems to be a bit more on the negative and even slightly cynical side, but I still can't help but adore him. I just finished the bit about his long walk across the country to see Elodie again. Absolutely beautiful.

electroblogster said...

The ever sage and masterful (wink) wikipedia lists his long-walk-manual-labor as "paying for lodging at remote farm houses and ranches by sketching the owners and reciting poetry."

Regardless, I thought it interesting that his great-great-grandfather, Joseph Priestly, discovered oxygen! (That's "dephlogisticated air" for those of you (and I know you hang around here!) who like long and archaic words).

gilbertgirl said...

Lovely word. Wish I knew how to use it...