Page:Jean Jaurès socialist and humanitarian 1917.djvu/27

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then felt that passion for Nature which he retained through life.

Jaurès' parents were of the middle class, and possessed no wealth. His father is described as a man of intelligence and of strong physique, but wanting in stability of character. He tried his hand at several ways of earning a living, and was not very successful at any of them. As is so often the case with Frenchmen, Jaurès was devoted to his mother, who was a large-hearted and tolerant woman. When between 1889 and 1893 he and his mother were both living in Toulouse, but not in the same house, he used to meet her every day in a certain road and would, if talking with friends when he caught sight of her, run away and leave them, going off with her arm in arm. Madame Jaurès deplored her son's decision to enter on a political life and leave the more studious career in which he had seemed so successful, but the relative whom she consulted declared that "Jean is drawn to politics as a duck to water," and that it was useless to attempt to stop him.[1]

At school Jean and his brother Louis both showed great capabilities. Jean was always at the head of his class and was very docile. He was gifted in languages and early learnt much Latin, and Greek, and some German. Much later he learnt English, and Spanish, and Portuguese. All

  1. See Quelques pages sur J. Jaurès, by L. Levy-Bruhl.