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an assistant, and Mademoiselle Victoire, a young lady who had been educated in Paris, was appointed to the situation. Thus the wolf was admitted into the fold; for this young person, being exceedingly vain and worldly minded, no sooner found herself established in the family of Madame Bulè, than she began to disturb the peace of its inmates.
All those accomplishments which delight the senses were what were chiefly held in esteem by Mademoiselle; she had no value for the qualities of the heart, and no discernment of retiring and humble merit; hence her favours were ever lavished on the vain and frivolous, provided they were possessed of such qualities as she admired; whilst some of the most amiable young people in the seminary were continually exposed either to her ridicule or her reproaches.
In consequence of this unjust conduct she presently raised a very unamiable feeling among the young people, many of whom began to form false estimates of each other's merits, and to hate and envy those individuals among their companions who possessed any of those qualities or distinctions, whether mental, personal or acci
dental, which were calculated to ensure the favour of Mademoiselle. And then it was that I first observed a change in the air and appearance of the young people when they came out to amuse themselves in their garden during the intervals of their studies; then it was that the voice of anger first arose towards my window, and my ear was then first saluted with the tones of discord, disturbing the beautiful harmony of the scene.
I observed also, after a while, that there was an entire cessation of those games and diversions in which the young people formerly seemed to take such interest; neither did I hear
hose cries of joy proceeding from the play. ground which were in former periods so delightful to my ear as I sat in my study-for worldly purposes and feelings had crept into this little society, and I, as if aware that these symptoms, observed amongst these young people, were only the beginnings of misfortunes, frequently at that time looked back on the days of innocent (comparatively innocent) pleasure which were fast passing away, with a sort of regret which seemed even more bitter than the occasion warranted.
The time had been, nay, it was hardly gone. when it had been the chief delight of the pupils of Madame Bulé to cultivate flowers in all attainable varieties, and Madame had given a small piece of ground to each little girl for this purpose.
I had often busied myself in procuring rare seeds and fine specimens of flowers for these little people, by which small services I had obtained the name of Le Bon Père*, Le Bon Pière Raffré, and was saluted with cries of joy whenever I appeared in the garden. Then with what eager delight did the little rebels gather round me, and some indeed were daring enough to thrust their hands into my pockets, to rob me of the small packets of seeds or bulbous roots which had been desposited therein to attract the pretty little thieves. More than once I have seized a dimpled hand in the very act of felony, and than have taken out my large clasp knife, to open it wide, to whet it on the nearest stone, and to pretend that I was about to take instant and cruel revenge ; whilst the sparkling and blooming delinquents shrieked and danced around me, now receding, now advancing, now approaching, now retiring, till every avenue of the garden reechoed with their merry notes of innocent delight. O joyous days of happy and unapprehensive youth, when the light heart never wearies with the same jest, however often reacted or repeated, nor yawns at the oft-told tale !
* The good Father.
Often too I was invited to the collation at four o'clock, when the weather would permit the little party to enjoy that simple meal in the open air; and when Father Raffré promised his company, most happy was that little fair one who could contribute the most elegant decora tions for the feast, or supply the most beautiful baskets of reeds or osiers to stand in lieu of the china or plate which adorns the tables of more magnificent orders.
As I before said, I was then a Roman Catholic, it was the religion to which I had been brought up, and although I will not say that from time to time some faint apprehensions might not have crossed my mind even then, respecting the soundness of the principles in which I had been nurtured, yet these gleams of light had hitherto been transitory as the rays which fall upon the earth when the morning is spread upon the mountains and the clouds are driven forward
along the path of the sun. But this I trust that I may say of myself, and of many of my brethren at that time, that, as far as our knowledge went, we were sincere ; and that if we sometimes appeared to be otherwise, it was because we were not always assured that our faith had that foundation in truth, which it must needs have in order to be effective. Notwithstanding which, I think I may add, that I did endeavour, when thus familiarly associated with these little people, to press upon them the importance of spiritual things, and with this view directed them often to raise
their hearts to God when employed in their most ordinary actions. To this piece of excellent advice I added, as might be expected, certain admonitions respecting sorms, of a nature which I now see to have been decidely prejudicial, inasmuch as outward forms, so frivolous as those which are commanded by the church to which I then belonged, have a direct tendency to lead the mind from seeking that inward and spiritual grace, of which outward forms are but the types. Amongst those forms which I particularly enforced, I well remember one, which was that of making the sign of the cross many