It was about this time that God opened his eyes to an illusion into which he had fallen through simple ignorance. One day at Saumur he had been enrolled in the sect of the freemasons, believing that it was a purely philanthropic and charitable institution. He had never heard of any ecclesiastical censures being pronounced against it, nor had he ever set foot in a Lodge, when one day his commanding officer asked him to take the duty of an officer who was going to a great Masonic dinner. “I wonder,” replied de Sonis, “why they did not ask me too.” “But, surely,” exclaimed the Colonel, “you are not one of them?” “Yes,” answered de Sonis. “Is there any harm in it?” “Go and see, and judge for yourself,” was the Colonel’s reply. De Sonis went.
Except some mysterious and symbolical signs about the dinner-table, he saw and heard nothing at first; but then began the speeches. One spoke of the end of superstition, of the religion of the future, of the emancipation of the conscience, and so on. Then another attacked Catholicism, its mysteries, and its priests. De Sonis could stand it no longer. Starting up from the table, he exclaimed:
“Gentlemen! Into whose trap have I fallen! They told me you respected religion, and you insult it! You have not kept your promise… I am freed from mine. You will never see me again; good night!” and with an emphatic gesture he threw down his napkin, and stalked out of the room, leaving the guests as surprised as they were furious.
General de Sonis by Msgr. Baunard translated by Lady Herbert, London: Art and Book Co. 1891, p. 19-20
Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 564