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hymn in Latin, in tones so sweetly mournful accompanied by the thrilling notes of the organ, now swelling in solemn majesty of sound, then gradually sinking into strains of plaintive melody, that every ear was fascinated, and every eye moistened with the tears of excited feeling. At the end of about ten minutes, the music seemed to die away, in a lengthened cadence of exquisite softness, and a short pause ensued, during which the audience appeared scarcely to breathe. The new nun was then assisted to rise from her death-Jike posture; the organ made the chapel resound with a triumphant anthem of joy, in which the deep voices of the priests joined the softer strains of the female sin. gers; and sister Marie was conducted by the supérieure to take her place among the sisterhood.
The whole of this performance was evidently intended, and certainly well calculated, to captivate the senses, and produce a powerful impression on the mind, in favour of the Popish church in general, and a conventional life in particular; nor did it altogether fail of its effect on those who then witnessed it. The remaining part of the drama, however, was fated to dissolve the charm, and create feelings which could not but serve as an antidote to the subtle poison so skilfully administered.
The young lady was now brought forward, and every heart seemed to throb with painful emotion, as the interesting girl knelt before the altar, and with suppressed feelings, meekly awaited her fate. A lighted taper was taken from the altar, and put into her hand. The priest then asked her in French, “ Ma fille, que demandezvous ?” Her answer to this question was in a prescribed form, but pronounced in so low and faint a voice, that the words could not
be distinguished. It seemed, however, that they contained the expression of a wish to become a religieuse, for he again addressed her,—“Daughter, is it by your own free will, that you now devote yourself to God ?” She falteringly replied in the affirmative, and he then asked her two more questions,—" whether she had made herself sufficiently acquainted with the duties and regulations of the life she was about to embrace ? and whether she was resolved to persevere in it, even to the end of her life?" Her faint and scarcely-uttered replies sealed her dedication, and she was then led into the ante-chaur, to have her hair cut off, and to assume the dress of the order. She seemed scarcely able to stand, and, as she was supported out of the chapel, the utter wretchedness depicted on her pallid countenance struck a chill of horror to every heart. While her elegant bridal dress, the mockery, rather than the expression of joy, was being removed, and her beautiful hair mercilessly cut off, the other nuns filled up the interval with chauntings and recitatives. At length she was led back to the altar, clothed in the black woollen robe, the small close cap and bandeau, and a small cloth veil over her head.
She seemed to have, in a great measure, conquered her agitation : the mournful calmness of forced resignation had succeeded to the traces of conflicting feelings; but the marble paleness of her countenance, and the touching sadness of its expression, appealed with irresistible power to the hearts of the pitying spectators.
Kneeling once more on the steps of the altar, she was solemnly blessed by the priest, who presented her with the consecrated girdle, to which were attached the rosary and cross, and which the supérieure fastened round her waist. Her cloth veil was then taken off, and replaced by a large muslin one ; and, while the supérieure was carefully arranging it in long, graceful folds, the priest addressed her in Latin, and again gave her his
The supérieure now left her kneeling on the highest step of the altar, and she was expected to sing a hymn, accompanied only by the organ. She made one or two ineffectual attempts to raise her voice; but, finding herself unequal to the task, arose, with the sudden impulse of uncontrollable feeling, and rushed precipitately down the steps. The supérieure, alarmed at her evident emotion, hastened towards her, and, taking her hand in a soothing manner, made a sign to sister Marie to join her. She was again led up to the highest step, and they then sang together ; but the low and faltering accents of the novice were lost in the more assured tones of her companion. The nuns soon after joined in the anthem, and the voices of the priests completed the chorus, which was closed by a grand finale from the deep-toned organ. The victim of this cruel sacrifice had now recovered her composure, and was led by the supérieure towards the nuns, whom she embracad individually, in token of her being now a member of the sisterhood.
From “ The School Girl in France.”
CONVALESCENT AND DESTITUTE SERVANTS. IT frequently occurs that young women of respectable character, who have supported themselves as domestic servants, become disabled by disease or accident, and are compelled to apply for relief at a hospital. Should their ailment prove tedious they lose their place, and, on being discharged from the hospital are houseless until they can procure a fresh situation ; for many have no friend nor parent to whose house they can repair. It cannot be expected that such persons should be retained in a hospital after they are cured, for to do so would be to frus. trate the object of a hospital, which is to cure the sick.
A young woman without a home is forced to go to a lodging-house, where she pays a high price, and must often meet with bad people. Even if none with whom she meets are actually vicious, vet the unrestrained intercourse of a number of half-educated people in a lodging-house can lead to no good. If not soun successful in obtaining a situation, the girl's funds may fail her, she is forced to pawn her clothes-starvation soon looks her in the face, the agents of brothels are on the look out, and she sells herself for a morsel of bread. It would be easy to trace each step of her progress, till the once decent servant-maid has become the brazen-faced strumpet,
It may be thought that the case above referred to, cannot be of frequent occurrence, but it should be borne in mind that a great proportion of the servants received into hospitals are the servants of petty tradesmen and small shopkeepers. They receive but very small pay for their services. A person cannot be a patient in a hospital altogether without expense, and when sent out, a servant's scanty stock is soon exhausted. Even if she has parents, no one who has seen a poor family huddled together in one room can wonder that the girl does not wish to go thither, or that her parents should be too poor to receive Cases such as this occur. A young girl, who had lived as servant at a small shopkeeper's in Islington, was admitted into - Hospital suffering from fever. Her father was a widower with two or three small children. He was seized with fever and taken to the Fever Hospital. The girl had spent most of her money to furnish comforts to her father, and to help her little brothers and sisters. When she recovered her father was dead, her brothers and sisters were in the workhouse. She was furnished, from a fund connected with the hospital, with new clothes, and a sovereign, and was sent away to live whiere she could, and look out for a new situation. What has since become of her is not known.
The following suggestions are thrown out with the greatest diffidence and respect.
Would it not be possible for the Committee of the Servants' Home, Millman Place, to put themselves in correspondence with the authorities of the hospitals, and to furnish a temporary home to servants when discharged from hospitals ? It being clearly understood that none should be received who were not declared by the medical attendants to be quite restored.
In the event of any such arrangement being made, there would probably be two classes of applicants :- 1st. Servants who are not destitute, (but would be able to pay at the present rate) but who would value the order and quiet of the Servants' Home.*
*2nd. Indigent servants, being mostly very young
* Our Correspondent is respectfully informed that both these classes are provided for in the designs of the London Pemale Mission. The one by the “Home," and the other through the medium of the “ Indigent Refuge;" at the same