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with others, was forced into Sister Magdalen's
cell. On her couch lay Gisborne, pale
unto death, but not dead. By his side was a
cup of water, and a small morsel of mouldy
bread, which he had pushed out of his reach,
and could not move to obtain. Over against
his bed were these words, copied in the
English version: " Therefore, if thine enemy
hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him

Some of us gave him of our food, and left
him eating greedily, like some famished wild
animal. For now it was no longer the sharp
tinkle, but that one solemn toll, which in all
Christian countries tells of the passing of the
spirit out of earthly life into eternity; and
again a murmur gathered and grew, as of
many people speaking with awed breath, " A
Poor Clare is dying! a Poor Clare is dead!"

Borne along once more by the motion of
the crowd, we were carried into the chapel
belonging to the Poor Clares. On a bier
before the high altar lay a womanlay sister
Magdalenlay Bridget Fitzgerald. By her
side stood Father Bernard, in his robes of
office, and holding the crucifix on high while
he pronounced the solemn absolution of the
Church, as to one who had newly confessed
herself of deadly sin. I pushed on with
passionate force, till I stood close to the dying
woman, as she received extreme unction amid
the breathless and awed hush of the multitude
around. Her eyes were glazing, her
limbs were stiffening; but when the rite was
over and finished, she raised her gaunt figure
slowly up, and her eyes brightened to a
strange intensity of joy, as, with the gesture
of her finger and the trance-like gleam of
her eye, she seemed like one who watched
the disappearance of some loathed and fearful

"She is freed from the curse," said she, as
she fell back dead.


LITTLE children, with long waving ringlets,
Gentle maids, with sunny eyes and hair;
Pleasant 'twas to see them clustered thickly,
Lovingly, around a lady's chair.

Lovely was the lady's face, though sorrow
Had paled the cheek, and dimm'd the large dark eye;
Speaking of troubles patiently endured,
Chasten'd Hope, and holy Constancy.

Thus she spake, in accents low and silvery,
"Ye would know why I your pastimes leave,
And in solitude and silence ever
Spend the joyous hours of Christmas Eve?

Listen to my story, and not vainly,
Hearing it, may some short time be past,
If it teach you how, through bitter sorrow,
God in mercy sends us peace at last.

Many years ago, one bleak November,
Tidings reach'd me of my husband's death;
Like a hero, fighting, he had fallen,
Shouting ' Victory ' with his dying breath.

Then I mourn'd for him as one distracted
Sinfully, despairingly, I mourn'd
Till my love fix'd on another object,
From the Maker to His creature turn'd.

I had one childa lovelier little cherub
Never frolick'd in this happy world;
In his dark eyes shone his father's spirit,
Round his head soft golden ringlets curl'd.

All I had left to lovewith blind devotion
I almost worshipp'd himmy child, my pride!
The Lord look'd down: in mercy and compassion
Chasten'd me again; my baby died!

Twas on Christmas Eve: my boy was lying
Worn with suffering, moaning, on my breast;
Even I call'd, in bitterness and anguish,
Death to come, if Death would give him rest.

Still the baby lingered, tossing wildly:
Then I thought how ancient legends say
Door or window must be open'd widely,
That Death may, entering, bear the soul away.

Rose I then, with cold and trembling fingers
Oped the door: in robes of shining white
Soft radiance dropping from liis starry chaplet
Stood God's messenger before my sight.

In the darken'd room the angel glided
(Moan'd no more the child upon my breast),
Soft he spake: ' The Lord hath heard thy weeping,
Death is come to give thy baby rest! '

With divine compassion on his features,
Still he spake: ' Forlorn one, do not weep
As without hope; our Gracious Master speaketh,
Lo! I give to my belovedsleep!

Death is sleep; but, O! the glorious waking
In the land where sorrow is no more!
Patiently endure then, as expecting
Soon to join the loved ones gone before.

Hark! the angels singing: Childless mother,
They proclaim the Advent upon Eartli
Of the child Christ Jesus, on whose birthday
Hail with joy thy baby's heavenly birth! '

Then the light around the angel faded,
I was left for evermore alone;
Till I Heavenward turned for consolation,
Where my husband and my child were gone.

Thus my proud soul learnt humility,
Learnt to kiss with gratitude the rod;
Humbly striving to be good and patient,
Meekly waiting for the voice of God!

Thus I celebrate, alone and silent,
On the Christmas Eve, a double birth;
Thanking God, who took my child to Heaven;
Praising God, who sent His child on Earth.

For whose birth my soul is very joyful,
Through whose blood I hope to be forgiven,
By whose death I boldly pass the gateway
Leading to His Father's homes in Heaven!"



AN old Russian peasant-man who almost
dotes, and a drunken varlet floundering on a
bed, are all that we have seen yet human
in Volnoï. Sophron and the Starosta shall
now give place to the wives, the children,
and the young maidens of the Sloboda; yet,
when I come to tackle them, my ambition

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