pruveire, pruvere; provaire, proveire, provere, provoire; pruaire, prueire is Old French (Langue d'Oïl) for "priest" (which is derived from "presbyter").
"Standing one day in front of the great fireplace in Victor Hugo’s drawing room in the Place Royale, Gérard was holding forth on his favourite subject, whirling together the Heavens and Hells of several quite different creeds with such studious impartiality that one of those present exclaimed suddenly:
“But Gérard, it’s perfectly obvious you don’t believe in any religion at all!”
“No religion at all? I have no religion? – I have seventeen religions – seventeen at least.” You may well imagine that such a profession of faith brought the discussion to an abrupt close. No one else in the company could boast such an extravagant wealth of belief.
The third corner was delivered up to a poetical discussion. Pagan mythology was giving battle to Christian mythology. The question was about Olympus, whose part was taken by Jean Prouvaire, out of pure romanticism.
Jean Prouvaire was timid only in repose. Once excited, he burst forth, a sort of mirth accentuated his enthusiasm, and he was at once both laughing and lyric.
"Let us not insult the gods," said he. "The gods may not have taken their departure. Jupiter does not impress me as dead. The gods are dreams, you say. Well, even in nature, such as it is to-day, after the flight of these dreams, we still find all the grand old pagan myths. Such and such a mountain with the profile of a citadel, like the Vignemale, for example, is still to me the headdress of Cybele; it has not been proved to me that Pan does not come at night to breathe into the hollow trunks of the willows, stopping up the holes in turn with his fingers, and I have always believed that Io had something to do with the cascade of Pissevache."
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