Obrazy na stronie
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][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

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

66

grave.

Marie, “I could never learn to weave had a pony, and everybody was so kind that delicate hair-work ; I should never to me, and they all let me do just what have the patience to braid all those I pleased.” chains and bracelets that Sister Ursula " Alas, my child !” said Sister Theweaves out of hair. It makes me fidg- resa, " does not everybody let you do etty just to look at her. She braids as you please ?" little fine hairs with her fingers, that Oh, everybody is kind to me,” anwould break a thousand times in mine. swered Marie, “and nobody does conI would not do it for the world ; then I tradict me, but sometimes the sisters couldn't give my thoughts to it. I like shake their heads at me and look very to think of the pleasant things that may

At least they try to, and seem happen some day; all sorts of fancies to think I am often very wicked. Nocome into my head. I like, too, to think body thought I was wicked at home, of the old times. Oh! Sister Theresa, though I did nothing but laugh and sing. if you would listen while I tell you of I have not told you what made me my pretty home by the Hudson !" think so much of home, nor what I saw

" I listen to you, child, already, too the other day. I was in the garden much,” said Sister Theresa, "I am when I saw Barbara go towards the afraid that I let you carry me back into gate that leads to the street. I never the world.”

looked out of that gate before." “Oh! the place where I used to live " It is forbidden, Marie,” said Sister was not the world,” answered Marie, Theresa.

papa and I lived there quite alone. “ Well, dear Sister Theresa,” said There was a beautiful lawn, and the Marie, “I did the forbidden thing. river went by the house, and boats Barbara was talking with a man with passed many times a day, and we vegetables at the gate, and at first there had such pretty brown horses, and I was nothing better to see than his old donkey, but presently a young man speaking; I close my eyes when you passed by—"

[graphic]

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 io 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 seemed 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 caine 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.

or-"

this handkerchief will ever wipe away Marie was attracted by the exclamaas many as I have shed upon it! Sister tions that were made. Theresa, I believe you like me to em- “Father Ignatius will tell us when he broider, because I use this cotton; how comes,” said Sister Ursula," whether it pretty it is,, with this mark upon it- is for good or for evil that peace is the mark of the cross! that is why it is made." called nun's cotton, I suppose. But I ". The war was better, it seems to will not work any more or cry any more me," said another, “if they were fightto-day. Your evening breeze, Sister ing for the Holy Church. How can Theresa, is going down into the garden, they lay down their arms ?” to play.”

• How the Holy Church should ever My little Marie,” said Sister The- need the help of those heretics, the resa, “I would do all things for your Mussulmen, I could never understand,” good; this is the way I excuse myself said Sister Martha. for having you so near me."

“It was undertaken with unholy " Ah, yes; and perhaps some day I means; that was why it failed,” said shall leave off being a butterfly,” said another. Marie, “though that is not the way in The more sober were discussing in the garden; there the ugly worm comes this way the great event of the close of out into the pretty butterfly. But I the war in Europe, which had happened shall grow into the worm-that is, I many months before; but the younger shall put on the ugly worm's dress, and sisters were listening to the account of cut off my long hair. Now, don't look the last battle, lingering over the names shocked, dear Sister Theresa, though of the dead. you did hear those naughty words. If I “M. Benin among the killed !” one could be with you more hours a day than exclaimed ; " is that the father of MadeI am, I might be better; but you must line?" be either in that tiresome hospital Yes. She had come to the convent

when her father left France with the “I give too little time, now,” said army. She was not one of the little Sister Theresa, “ to mercy or to devo- circle present, though every one looked tion. Go away, little child; if you round cautiously. Already the mother would only pick the flowers alone, and must be telling her the sad news. not the weeds !"

Sister Theresa must be told ; she was “In a convent,” thought Marie, as from France, too. Yet Sister Theresa she ran away, “there can be neither had never spoken of friends or home. flowers nor weeds; but I would like to She had often chided these younger be good, for Sister Theresa's sake.” ones who had talked lingeringly of

She went bounding through a large father, brothers or sisters left behindhall, and found collected there a knot even of mother. 6. You have chosen of the sisters. They were eagerly talk- the Bridegroom; you have left all to ing over some matter of deep interest. follow him," she had said. Marie did not mean to linger long, as Marie, after listening to the tale Sister Theresa had taught her not to a while, went back to Sister Theresa. join the little gossiping circle that she met one of the others who had been formed itself in the hall whenever the to distribute the news; to tell of the daily news came ; for gossip and news peace, or to read out the list of the of the day penetrate even within the dead. Marie went in to where she had convent walls. The little citadel had left Sister Theresa sitting. its hours of exchange and its inoments She was still in the same spot; leanof prattle. Sometimes the subject was ing back in her seat. Marie went to the illness of one of the sisters, its embrace her, and found her chill and causes, and her probable indiscretion ; cold! She called her to speak; called, sometimes it was the bearing of a new too, for help; but no one heard her.

a novice - from the world. She covered Therese with kisses; she There were little quarrels with the por- could not bear to leave her. ter, little jealousies among each other. At last she seemed to breathe a Even these little sins the convent walls warmth into the cold form; the stiff eyedo not shut out.

lids relaxed, there was a smile upon the To-day the talk was of the great thin lips. Presently, a low voice said: news of the peace from Europe, and “Speak to no one, Marie ; there is

comer

[ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic]

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 “Ï 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 you. But it is not nearly as exciting

« PoprzedniaDalej »