Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

like one of the nuns. How clumsy I swer the questions, this way, that way, was at first! But I do improve, and they go to Sister Lucie's rosary, or some time or other I may be allowed to Sister Ursula's profilo.". work upon those glorious altar-cloths “Poor child," said Sister Theresa, that you delight to make so beautiful!" "ears, and tongue, and eyes, and feet!

" It is not merely outward grace that you cannot keep any of them under is needed for them,” said Sister The- control! When, indeed, can the heart resa ; " oftentimes I am not fit to touch and soul come under subjection !" that which is set apart for so holy a use. ** As for my thoughts, dear Sister I wait until I have wholly submitted Theresa, how could I ever keep them myself, and every thought within me, still ?” continued Marie, “I have so to the sacred purpose in which I am many of them, and I like to have them engaged."

wander about. I love to embroider, * Åh, me," said Marie, “ I shall never better than when I came, because now learn to submit my thoughts. In the I can stitch my thoughts into my work. first place, I cannot submit myself. I Whenever I come to this ivy-leaf in my want to go wandering up and down in pattern, I think of the heavy vine that the garden. Whenever Sister Ursula covers up the dark-gray tower, and of calls me into her cloister, I directly the frolic I had beneath it one day with think I would rather go into the arbor; the porter's little girl when they let her and if she tells me to sit in the arbor, I come into the garden. And then this suddenly discover I would rather not be forget-me-not, as I call it, though it there. I can't even keep my eyes quiet. doesn't look much the shape of a flower, When I sit on the stone-bench, to an- it reminds me of a little garden-border

[graphic]

Richardson Cox

I had, long ago, in my dear old home. your hands that were so clumsy when Oh! Sister Theresa, may I tell you you first came.

Now you can, as you about that place ?

say, embroider almost as well as Sister "Little child," said the other, “I Ursula.”. would rather you would teach your

That is because the patterns are so thoughts. See how you have taught beautiful, I love to look at them,” said

[ocr errors]

resa,

Marie, “I could never learn to weave that delicate hair-work ; I should never have the patience to braid all those chains and bracelets that Sister Ursula weaves out of hair. It makes me fidgetty just to look at her. She braids little fine hairs with her fingers, that would break a thousand times in mine. I would not do it for the world ; then I couldn't give my thoughts to it. I like to think of the pleasant things that may happen some day; all sorts of fancies come into my head. I like, too, to think of the old times. Oh! Sister Theresa, if you would listen while I tell you of my pretty home by the Hudson !"

" I listen to you, child, already, too much,” said Sister Theresa, “I am afraid that I let you carry me back into the world."

“Oh! the place where I used to live was not the world,” answered Marie,

papa and I lived there quite alone. There was a beautiful lawn, and the river went by the house, and boats passed many times a day, and we had such pretty brown horses, and I

had a pony, and everybody was so kind to me, and they all let me do just what I pleased." • Alas, my child !” said Sister The

“ does not everybody let you do as you please ?"

"Oh, everybody is kind to me," answered Marie, “and nobody does contradict me, but sometimes the sisters shake their heads at me and look very grave. At least they try to, and seem to think I am often very wicked. Nobody thought I was wicked at home, though I did nothing but laugh and sing. I have not told you what made me think so much of home, nor what I saw the other day. I was in the garden when I saw Barbara go towards the gate that leads to the street. I never looked out of that gate before.”

“ It is forbidden, Marie,” said Sister Theresa.

“ Well, dear Sister Theresa,” said Marie, “I did the forbidden thing. Barbara was talking with a man with vegetables at the gate, and at first there was nothing better to see than his old

[ocr errors][merged small]
[graphic][ocr errors]

donkey, but presently a young man speaking; I close my eyes when you passed by—"

come before me. Little gay flower, you A young man !” exclaimed Sister twine around the gray turret; some day Theresa.

you will be plucked away from me.” " He only passed by, though he “But you, dear Sister Theresa," looked in,” said Marie, “and he started cried Marie, “you are not like the gray and looked astonished a minute, at least turret--you will not always be so cold I think he did; for I was startled, too. -you have not always been so cold !'' I had seen his face once before, three What I have been—that matters summers ago, at home. Barbara shut not,” said Sister Theresa, “I know the gate directly, and I had only this only four years—the four years that I one glance; but that glance brought have lived on this island. The walls back to me the day when my father around me have shut me in, and have brought home with him a friend of his shut out the world ; and beyond the from New York. The day, I remember walls the sea cuts me off from other perfectly, was a lovely summer day, life. You, poor little one, long for a and this Mr. Philip admired everything glimpse through the opening of the He admired the smooth lawn, and the gate into the little world that is round flower-border, and me, perhaps, too!” the convent-walls. Ah, let the stone

Marie, one forbidden act opens the walls shut you in! There is one way way for many forbidden thoughts," that is not barred: that is upward. The said Sister Theresa.

broad heaven is not shut out; you are “But I may love my father,” said not fettered from that, except by sin.” Marie, “and I may love his friends, “ Four years, dear Sister Theresa,” too; and what harm is it, just to look said Marie ; “and I have been here out at the gate once ?"

only one, and that has seemned very “Marie, you know when you left the long. It is two years since we left our school to live with us here," said Sister old home; there it was pleasant a whole Theresa, “you were willing to submit year that we lived in France. Not a to our rules."

word of English did I speak that year, “Oh! dear Sister Theresa,” ex- for

papa

would not allow it; and we did claimed Marie, “I am willing to do not see a single American or Englisheverything to please you, and to give I suppose he thought it was up everything. I was so tired in that better for my French, but I would have dreary school, where the girls talked liked to talk to him in English. Now nothing but Spanish, and where they the French comes so easy, that is why were so vain and idle. That day when I like to talk to you instead of the we came to visit the cloisters, I fell in Spanish school-girls. And yet I think love with you. How could I help it, I know enough Spanish to please papa, when your face looks so like the picture when he comes back for me. I wonder of a beautiful nun! Then they told me where he will take me next. I would it was your voice that I had heard at rather not wander any more; I don't vespers and in the masses. When the care to know any more languages; I same voice spoke kindly to me, I believe it is because I speak French thought, if I ever should be good in the that you are willing to listen to me; and world, it would be when I should see yet we never talk about France, your you all the time.”

own home! Therese! Therese! ah, “I was willing you should come now you are not. listening to me; you here,” said Sister Theresa, “ though it have gone back unto your visions again. seemed a strange thing, that when I Why did I say anything? why did I was living here still and cold, dead to not let you go on and talk to me of the world, striving to live only to God, yourself?". it was strange that I should be willing No, it is better to let your voice go to let you enter here—to let you be murmuring on,” said Sister Theresa ; with me at times. You, Marie, are gay “I must not always listen to it. It and joyful-I am grave and sad; oh! comes in like the evening breeze, genmay it not be a sin to me to take you tly through the window. It woos me, so near my heart-I, who have vowed to but I do not ask it to caress me." have no heart but for One!-I, who be- “ So you listen to me no more than to lieved I had chilled all earthly love ! the wind,” said Marie ; " there go more Marie, I close my ears when you are tears down on my work! I wonder if

man.

this handkerchief will ever wipe away as many as I have shed upon it! Sister Theresa, I believe you like me to embroider, because I use this cotton; how pretty it is,, with this mark upon itthe mark of the cross! that is why it is called nun's cotton, I suppose. But I will not work any more or cry any more to-day. Your evening breeze, Sister Theresa, is going down into the garden, to play.

“My little Marie,” said Sister Theresa, “I would do all things for your good ; this is the way I excuse myself for having you so near me."

Ah, yes; and perhaps some day I shall leave off being a butterfly,” said Marie," though that is not the way

in the garden; there the ugly worm comes out into the pretty butterfly: But I shall grow into the worm-that is, I shall put on the ugly worm's dress, and cut off my long hair. Now, don't look shocked, dear Sister Theresa, though you did hear those naughty words. If I could be with you more hours a day than I am, I might be better; but you must be either in that tiresome hospital

or

[ocr errors]

Marie was attracted by the exclamations that were made.

“Father Ignatius will tell us when ho comes,” said Sister Ursula," whether it is for good or for evil that peace is made."

• The war was better, it seems to me," said another, “ if they were fighting for the Holy Church. How can they lay down their arms ?"

How the Holy Church should ever need the help of those heretics, the Mussulmen, I could never understand,” said Sister Martha.

“It was undertaken with unholy means; that was why it failed,” said another.

The more sober were discussing in this way the great event of the close of the war in Europe, which had happened many months before; but the younger sisters were listening to the account of the last battle, lingering over the names of the dead.

“ M. Benin among the killed !" one exclaimed ; " is that the father of Madeline ?"

Yes. She had come to the convent when her father left France with the army. She was not one of the little circle present, though every one looked round cautiously. Already the mother must be telling her the sad news.

Sister Theresa must be told ; from France, too. Yet Sister Theresa had never spoken of friends or home. She had often chided these younger ones who had talked lingeringly of father, brothers or sisters left behindeven of mother. • You have chosen the Bridegroom; you have left all to follow him," she had said.

Marie, after listening to the tale a while, went back to Sister Theresa. She met one of the others who had been to distribute the news; to tell of the peace, or to read out the list of the dead. Marie went in to where she had left Sister Theresa sitting.

She was still in the same spot; leaning back in her seat. Marie went to embrace her, and found her chill and cold! She called her to speak; called, too, for help; but no one heard her. She covered Therese with kisses; she could not bear to leave her.

At last she seemed to breathe a warmth into the cold form; the stiff eyelids relaxed, there was a smile upon the thin lips.

Presently, a low voice said : “Speak to no one, Marie ; there is

“I give too little time, now,” said Sister Theresa, “ to mercy or to devotion. Go away, little child; if you would only pick the flowers alone, and not the weeds !""

" In a convent,” thought Marie, as she ran away,

o there can be neither flowers nor weeds; but I would like to be good, for Sister Theresa's sake."

She went bounding through a large hall, and found collected there a knot of the sisters. They were eagerly talking over some matter of deep interest. Marie did not mean to linger long, as Sister Theresa had taught her not to join the little gossiping circle that formed itself in the hall whenever the daily news came; for gossip and news of the day penetrate even within the convent walls. The little citadel had its hours of exchange and its inoments of prattle. Sometimes the subject was the illness of one of the sisters, its causes, and her probable indiscretion ; sometimes it was the bearing of a new

a novice - from the world. There were little quarrels with the porter, little jealousies among each other. Even these little sins the convent walls do not shut out.

To-day the talk was of the great news of the peace from Europe, and

she was

comer

[ocr errors][graphic][merged small]

II.

no help.” Her words came feebly and hers still, and ran, at last, for help—it slowly, but she clung to Marie's hand. came; but it was unavailing. The

Child, child," she said, at last, and physician spoke of a sudden disease of interruptedly, “I was trying to turn my

the heart. Sister Therese had always soul to God, but it clung to earth ; it appeared delicate. No one wondered followed one I loved. They read me at so sudden a death, though it gave a of the death of Madeline's father, and of shock to the quiet community. Marie one other, still nearer to me, than he to wept bitterly as the dear, beautiful form her. Now we shall pay our vows to- was placed beneath the pavement. The gether before God. Now, I can love gray convent walls appeared more sad him, since he is no longer on earth. and dreary than ever, and she went I think the summons has come, yet I back—away from them—to her pension. know not how soon I am to go. Pray for me, Marie! I could not shut him from my heart, though I had turned my heart to ice. I did not know how I still “I KEEP on with my work,” said loved him, I did not know how he still Agnes, “ because you will keep on with lived in my prayers to God, even. Now your walking up and down the room in he has risen up above the walls that that moody way. I expect to be enterseparated me from the world. Now can tained ; and if you won't entertain me, I love him. God has chosen to lift him why, my work must. Do sit down, up to where I should raise my eyes. Philip, a few minutes; how can one God forgive me for my unfaithfulness ! carry on a conversation with a walking My heart did not turn towards Him; steam-engine ?" now has he kindly broken it. Child, I “ Here am I, opposite to you; what did not mean to deceive you; I deceived will you do with me?" asked Philip. myself, also. Forgive my sin, and " I should like to do something to pray that God, also, will forgive me make you less dolorous," answered

The tired eyelids closed, the lips fell Agnes. "I expected to enjoy your into a gentle smile. Marie was terrified coming home again, and talking with by the coldness of the hand that held

But it is not nearly as exciting

you.

« AnteriorContinuar »