“I am worried about him.”


“Frankly, I’m afraid he might be on the verge of some disastrous religious conversion.”

I was jarred. “Really?” I said.

“I’ve seen this happen before. And I can think of no other reason for this sudden interest in ethics. Not that Edmund is profligate, but really, he’s one of the least morally concerned boys I’ve ever known. I was very startled when he began to question me – in all earnestness – about such hazy concerns as Sin and Forgiveness. He’s thinking of going into the Church, I just know it. Perhaps that girl has something to do with it, do you suppose…Is she a Catholic?”

“I think she’s Presbyterian,” I said. Julian had a polite but implacable contempt for Judeo-Christian tradition in virtually all its forms. He would deny this if confronted, citing evasively his affection for Dante and Giotto, but anything overtly religious filled him with a pagan alarm; and I believe that like Pliny, whom he resembled in so many respects, he secretly thought it to be a degenerate cult carried to extravagant lengths.

“A Presbyterian? Really?” he said, dismayed.

“I believe so.”

“Well, whatever one thinks of the Roman Church, it is a worthy and powerful foe. I could accept that sort of conversion with grace. But I shall be very disappointed indeed if we lose him to the Presbyterians.”

– a passage that has stayed with me from Donna Tartt’s The Secret History


  1. mrsdarwin says

    Yay, Secret History! I couldn’t place the passage until it mentioned Julian.

  2. Same with me.

    That book, in general, sort of sticks with me. Freaky Teaky…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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