His table-talk resembled that of Luther. He was tireless on the subject of Lourdes: Bernadette had seen a "countrywoman changing her che- mise"; a paralytic had been dipped into the fountain, and when he was taken out, "he could see with both eyes." He related the life of Saint Labre, who was covered with lice, that of Saint Marie Alacoque, who licked up the excrement of sick persons with her tongue. Those tall stories were useful to me. I was all the more inclined to rise above worldly goods in that I possessed none, and I would have had no difficulty in finding my vocation in my comfortable destitution. Mysticism suits displaced persons and superfluous children. To push me into it, it would have been enough to present the matter to me by the other end; I was in danger of being a prey to saintliness. My grandfather disgusted me with it forever. I saw it through his eyes. That cruel madness sickened me by the dullness of its ecstasies, terrified me by its sadistic contempt for the body. The eccentricities of the saints made no more sense to me than those of Englishmen who dived into the sea in evening clothes. When listening to these stories, my grandmother pre- tended to be indignant. She called her husband an "infidel" and a "heretic." She rapped him on the knuckles, but the indulgence of her smile finally opened my eyes. She believed in nothing. Her scepticism alone kept her from being an atheist. My mother was careful not to intervene. She had "he? own God" and asked him little more than to comfort her in secret.
—Jean-Paul Sartre, Les Mots, p. 99