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knocked all to bits the nice little scene, while in the hurry of landing, porters' bustle, the noise of luggage, and all the other busy attendants of going on shore, we lost sight of our chance acquaintance.

After securing the coupé in the diligence, and setting a commissionaire, or errand-porter, to work about the passports, we took a farewell look at the “phalanstery town,” as our boat friend had called it. We went to the head of the city, to our favorite spot, Place St. Antoine, to give a good-by gaze to the beautiful view on which we had looked so often that it had become a possession of memory.

The Savoy Alps stretched out snowy fortifications between us and that wondrous ice-bed, above which towers the “ monarch of mountains,” Mont Blanc. Deut D’Oche, our old Alpine neighbor, seemed to peep familiarly over the Chablais at us, to tell us “ God speed.” To the northeast there was the Mole, with its solitary peak, and the Voirons, seated like matrons in the midst of their forests ; while to the right, Mont Buet, with its snowy dome, and the dark rocky outworks of the Grenier, summoned us onwards.

At half-past four we returned to the hotel and dined, then went to the Diligence Bureau, received our passport, and were soon snugly packed away in the coupé. The journey from Geneva to Chambéry was the coldest part of the route. We left Geneva at six in the evening, and reached Chambéry at six the next morning, where we staid till midday. At one o'clock in the afternoon we were again on the road. The diligence was lifted upon the rails, and we flew along quite swiftly up to St. Jean, which we reached at nightfall; there we took horses again and commenced the mountain passage.

The passage of Mont Cenis is the least interesting in a picturesque sort of view of all the Alpine entrances into Italy; but it is a superb road, and is as safe and comfortable in mid-winter as an ordinary journey away from the Alps. It is considered a masterpiece of engineering, its ascent and descent are so gradual and secure. Fabbroni, the great engineer, gave seven years' study, thought, and labor, and France over a million of dollars, to accomplish it.

The first Charlemagne crossed Mont Cenis with his army, when it was a true feat to make the passage, for it had to be done on foot and in litters. The road remained impassable for diligence as late as 1800. Then came the second Charlemagne, who wished to go into Italy over mountains as high as his ambition, but he was not of the race of those

“ First men who led black horses by the mane

nor was he of this third race, of which his nephew is a type, who merits, better than his uncle, Carlyle's title * Hero of Tools,” — who is now driving out over these Alps,

“From the cloud of steam majestical white horses."

He, the second Charlemagne, the great Napoleon, commanded this fine road, and a greater miracle it was then than the tunnel can be now. We talked of the history of this celebrated road, and the great change the tunnelling of the Alps shall make in a few years. The idea sounds more poetical than the journey then shall be, for the tunnel will alter materially this midnight pass which has its own peculiar charm.

The peal of a bell across the midnight air — the Angelus bell of the Hospice turned the conversation to the Benedictines who live on Mont Cenis. We went back to the great St. Benedict, whose famous Holy Rule was said to contain the maxims of perfect government; that system which Cosmo di Medici, and all those great rulers of men, studied reverentially. Those Benedictines, his followers, were great people at every period of their history, either as sturdy forest-clearers, tillers of the soil, or scholarly gentlemen copying with clerkly skill, and protecting, with cultured reverence, the treasures of Greek

and Latin poesy.

Guizot says of them, “The monks of St. Benedict. were the great land-clearers of Europe"; and Mignet calls them, “Those great republics of agricultural and literary industry of the Order of St. Benedict.”

Scienter nesciens, et sapienter indoctus, (learnedly ignorant and wisely learned,) St. Gregory, his biographer, called this wonderful man,” said Janet; "and these Benedictines on Mont Cenis are living quite in accordance with their holy founder's rule, but that cannot be said of every Benedictine order; they have fallen many times sadly away from his rigid self-denying practice. Why, to become a member of the very community St. Benedict established at Monte Casino, near the frontier or line between the Roman States and Naples, the applicant has to be not only a person of high birth, but also of independent fortune. At one time the Abbot of Monte Casino held the rank of Baron of the kingdom, and drove his coach and six.”

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“ So soft is flesh of mortals, that on earth

A good beginning doth no longer last
Than while an oak may bring its fruit to birth," *

* Cary's Dante, Paradise, Canto XXII.


I quoted. “ But you must remember, Janet, even in their days of backsliding the gentlemen of that convent were not idle men. To them you lovers of the classics are indebted for a great deal that you now enjoy. That very monastery of Monte Casino was a sanctuary for Greek and Latin treasures which otherwise would have been lost. You would never have had even those six Fasti of Ovid which you prize so highly, nor the great Englishman Fox, his beloved Idylls of Theocritus, but for these scholarly Benedictines of Monte Casino.”

We dwelt on the life of the great founder of the Order, of whom Montalembert says, “ At a season of universal desolation and gloom, when the whole world was steeped in heresy, schism, and divisions, a solitary monk created a centre of supernatural virtue, and illuminated it with a splendor which shone during ten ages over regenerated Europe."*

The beautiful love which existed between St Benedict and his sister St. Scholastica, and the touching story told by St. Gregory of their last interview, interested Venitia deeply. St. Scholastica's convent was five miles distant from Monte Casino, and once a year she always visited her brother. He would not let her visit the monastery, but went out to meet her at a place appointed, and there they passed the day in sweet talk on their mutual faith and great hope.

When she knew she was dying she made her people carry

her to the place of meeting, and her brother came to her. The day seemed short to the dying woman; and as the setting sun sank behind the beautiful hills, she clung with mortal yearning to her dearly loved brother, whose blessed words of comfort during the day had given her so much healing strength. She besought him to stay until morning with her, and talk again to her of the happiness of that other life which lay beyond the dread, dark sea of anguish, called Death, — that sea which she was so soon to cross alone.

* Les Moines d'Occident, par Montalembert.

But the rule of his Order, established by himself, forbade a monk to pass the night away from his monastery. He knew it was his beloved sister's last request, but he steadfastly, though sorrowfully, refused.

Then the poor, expiring woman, seeing her entreaties were in vain, lay her trembling hands on a table, restéd her face in them, weeping bitterly, and besought Almighty God to interpose in her behalf. Straightway the heavens seemed opened, and there came pouring down. such a flood of rain with fierce thunder and sharp lightning, that no man or beast dare venture out in it.

“ God forgive you, sister !” said St. Benedict.“ What have you done?”

“I asked a favor of you," she replied, with reproachful tenderness, “and you refused me. I asked it of God, and he has granted it to me.”

All night long the holy brother and sister held solemn vigil together, and his strong words became as an armor of might to the feeble woman whose soul and body were having their last great battle. At dawn they parted, not in tears, but with faces that shone like angels; and as St. Benedict kissed his sister, she said,

“ My brother, the parting will not be long. We shall soon meet again."

Three days after, she breathed her last breath in great mortal anguish, but in holy peace of spirit; and her sorrowing brother, who was praying at the time in his tower at Monte Casino, believed he saw her pure soul ascend to heaven in the form of a dove.

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