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chamber, with a good deal of heavy furniture in it.

"You'll stay here, Angela, until I come to let you out," she hissed at me.

I heard the key turn in the lock, and my heart was full of savage hate. I sat and brooded long on the vengeance I desired to wreak. Sister Esmeralda had said she would come at her good will to let me out. "Very well," thought I, wickedly; "when she comes she'll not find it so easy to get in."

My desire was to thwart her in her design to free me when she had a mind to. My object was to die of hunger alone and forsaken in that big white chamber, and so bring remorse and shame upon my tyrants. So, with laboured breath and slow impassioned movements, I dragged over to the door all the furniture I could move. In my ardour I accomplished feats I could never have aspired to in saner moments. A frail child of eight, I nevertheless wheeled armchairs, a sofa, a heavy writing-table, every seat except a small stool, and even a cupboard, and these I massed carefully at the door as an obstruction against the entrance of my enemy.

And then I sat down on the stool in the middle of the chamber, and tore into shreds with hands and teeth a new holland overall. Evening began to fall, and the light was dim. My passion had exhausted itself, and I was hungry and tired and miserable. Had any one else except Sister Esmeralda come to the door, I should have behaved differently, for I was a

most manageable little creature when not under the influence of the terrible exasperation injustice always provoked in me. But there she stood, after the repeated efforts of the gardener called up to force open my prison door, haughty, contemptuous, and triumphant, with me, poor miserable little me, surrounded by the shreddings of my holland pinafore, in her ruthless power.

A blur of light, the anger of madness, the dreadful tense sensation of my helplessness, and before I knew what I had done I had caught up the stool and wildly hurled it at her triumphant visage. Oh, how I hated Sister Esmeralda! how I hated her!


The moment was one of exceptional solemnity. I was not scolded, or slapped, or roughly treated. My crime was appalling for such habitual treatment. One would think I already wore the black shroud of death, that the gallows stood in front of me, and beside it the coffin and the yawning grave, as my enemy, holding my feeble child's hand in a vice, marched me down the corridor into the dormitory, where a lay sister was commanded to fetch my strong boots, my hat and cloak.

The children were going joyously off to supper, with here and there, I can imagine, an awed whisper in my concern, as the lay sister took my hand in hers; and in silence by her side, in the grey twilight, I walked from the Ivies beyond the common down to the town convent, where only the mothers dwelt. I knew something dreadful was going to happen to me,

and being tired of suffering and tired of my short troubled life, I hoped even then that it would prove death. I did not care. It was so long since I had thought it worth while caring! And so I missed the lovely charm of that silent walk through the unaccustomed twilight, with quaint little shops getting ready their evening illumination, and free and happy persons walking to and fro, full of the joy of being, full of the bliss of freedom. My heart was dead to hope, my intelligence, weary from excess of excitement and pain, was dull to novelty.

In the town convent I was left awhile in aching solitude in the brown parlour, with its pious pictures and big crucifix. I strained eye and ear through the silent dusk, and was relieved when the superioressa sort of female pontiff, whom we children saw in reverential stupefaction on Scarce feast

days, when she addressed us from such heights as Moses on the mountain might have addressed a group of sparrows— with two other nuns entered. It looked like death, and already the heart within me was dead. I know so well now how I looked: white, blue-veined, blue-lipped, sullen, and indifferent.

My wickedness was past sermonising. I was simply led up-stairs to a brown cell, and here the red-cheeked lay sister, a big brawny creature, stripped me naked. Naked, mind, though convent rules forbid the whipping of girls. I was eight, exceedingly frail and delicate. The superioress took my head tightly under her arm, and the brawny red-cheeked lay sister scourged my back with a threepointed whip till the blood gushed from the long stripes, and I fainted. I never uttered a groan, such were my pride and resolute spirit of endurance.


The sequel is enfolded in mystery. Was I long unconscious? Was I long ill? Was there any voice among the alarmed nuns lifted in my favour? Or was the secret kept among the superioress, the lay sister who thrashed me, and the doctor? As a Catholic in a strong and bigoted Protestant centre, in the pay of a Catholic community, it is not unreasonable to suppose him anxious to avoid a scandal. For outside there was the roaring lion, the terrible member for Lysterby,

seeking the Catholics he might devour! That satanic creature who dreamed at night of Tyburn, and, if he could, would have proscribed every priest and nun of the realm! Picture the hue and cry in Parliament and out of it, if it were known that a baby girl had been thrashed by strong, virile hands, as with a Russian knout, with the ferocity of bloodthirsty jailers instead of the gentleness of holy women striving to inculcate precepts of virtue and Christian charity

in the breast of a tiny reprobate! And ladies, too, devoted to the worship of mercy and of Mary, the maiden of sorrow, the mild mother of humanity.

I know I lay long in bed,that my wounds, deep red open stripes, were dressed into scars by lint and sweet oil and herbs. The doctor, a cheery fellow with a Scottish name, came and sat by my bedside, and gave me almond-drops, and begged me repeatedly "to look up." The pavement outside was rough, the little city street was narrow, and the flies rumbling past from the station to the Craven Arms shook my bed. The noise was novel, and excited me. I thought of my imaginary friend of the Ivies, the white lady, and wondered if any one had ever thrashed her. The cook, Sister Joseph, from time to time stole up-stairs and offered me, by way of consolation, maybe a bribe, a Shrewsbury biscuit, a jamtart, a piece of seed-cake.

Once the pain of my lacerated back subsided I was not at all bored. It was good to lie in a fresh white bed and listen dreamily to the discreet murmurs of a provincial town in the quiet convent-house, have nothing to do, no scrapes to get into, hear no scolding voices, and have plenty of nice things to eat, after the long famine of nine interminable months.

I do not remember when it was she first came to me. She was a slim, oldish nun, with a white delicate visage and eyes full of a wistful sadness, neither blue nor grey. Her voice was very low, and gave me the same intense pleasure that the soft

touch of her thin small hands thrilled me with. She was called Mother Aloysius, and painted pictures for the chapel and for the convent. Did she know what had happened, and had she taken the community's debt to me upon her lean shoulders? Or was I merely for her a sick and naughty little girl, to whom she was drawn by sympathy?

She never spoke of my whipping, nor did I. Perhaps with the unconscious delicacy of sensitive childhood I divined that it would pain her. More probably still, I was only too glad to be enfolded in the mild warmth of her unquestioning tenderness. Wickedness dropped from me as a wearisome garment, and, divested of its weight, I trotted after her heels like a little lapdog. She took me with her everywhere: into the big garden where she tended the flowers, and where she allowed me to water and dig myself out of breath, fondly persuaded that the fate of the flowers next year depended upon my exertions; to her work - room, where in awed admiration I watched her paint, and held her brushes and colours for her; to the chapel where she changed the flowers, and where I gathered the stalks into little hills and swept them into my pinafore. And all the time I talked, ceaselessly, volubly,—not of past sufferings, nor of present pain, but of the things that surprised and perplexed me, of the countless things I wanted to do, of the tales of Tyburn and the white lady.

When I was well enough to

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go back to daily woe and insufficient food, I was dressed in hat and jacket and strong boots, and while I stood in the hall the awful superioress issued from the community-room and looked at me coldly.

"You have had your lesson, Angela. You will be a good child in future, I hope," she said, and touched my shoulder with a lifeless gesture.

The mischievous impulse of saucy speech and wicked glance died when I encountered the gentle prayer of my new friend's faded eyes. I was only a baby, but I understood as well as if I had been a hundred what those kind and troubled eyes said, glancing at me behind the woman she must have known I hated. "Be good, dear child; be silent, be respectful. Forgive, forget, for my sake." I swallowed the angry words I longed to utter on the top of a sob, and went and held up my cheek to Mother Aloysius. "You're a brave little girl, Angela," she said, softly. "You'll see, if you are good, that reverend mother will let you come down and spend a nice long day with me soon again; and I'll take you to water the flowers and fill the vases in the chapel, and watch me paint up-stairs. Good-bye." She kissed me on both cheeks, not in the fleshless kiss of the nun, but with dear human warmth of lips, and her fingers lingered tenderly about my head. Did she suspect the sacrifice I had made to her kindness?-the fierce and wrathful words I had projected to hurl at the head of the superioress,

and that I had kept back to please her?

At the Ivies I maintained a steadfast silence upon what had happened. I cannot now trace the obscure reasons of my silence, which must have pleased the nuns, for nobody ever knew about my severe whipping. Thanks to the beneficent influences of my new friend, I was for a while a model of all the virtues. I studied hard, absorbed pages of useful knowledge in the Child's Guide,' and mastered the abstruse contents of Cardinal Wiseman's History of England.' At the

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end of a month, to the amazement of everybody and to my own dismay, I was rewarded with a medal of good conduct, and formally enrolled in that virtuous body, the Children of the Angels, and wore a medal attached to a brilliant green ribbon.

This transient period of virtue, felt no doubt by all around me to be precarious and unstable, was deemed the fitting moment for my first confession. What a baby of eight can have to confess I know not. The value of such an institution for the infantine conscience escapes me. But there can be no question of its enormous sensational interest for us all. Two new children had made their appearance since my tempestuous arrival. They belonged to the band, as well as an idiot girl two years older than I, and now deemed wise enough to crave pardon for sins she could not possibly commit. We carefully studied the 'Examination of Conscience,' and spelt out the particularly

big words with a thrill: they looked nice mysterious sins, the sort of crimes we felt we would gladly commit if we had the


I went about sombre and dejected, under the conviction that I must have sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost, and Polly Evans wondered if adultery figured upon the list of her misdoings. She was sure, however, that she had not defrauded the labourer of his daily wage, whatever that might be, for the simple reason that she had never met a labourer. I was tortured with a fresh sensational doubt. My foster mother's cousin at Kildare was a very nice labourer, who often had given me sweets. Could I, in a moment of temporary aberration, have defrauded him of his wage? And then adultery! If Polly was sure she had committed adultery, might I not also have so deeply offended against heaven? I had not precisely killed anybody, but had I not desired to kill Sister Esmeralda the day I threw the

stool at her?

And so we travelled conscientiously, like humble, but, in the very secret depths of our being, self-admiring pilgrims, over the weary and profitless road of self-examination, and assured ourselves with a fervent thrill that we were indeed miserable sinners. "I'll never get into a passion again," I swore to Polly Evans, like a monstrous little Puritan, and before an hour had passed was thirsting for the blood of some offender. I even went so far as to include Sister Esmeralda and

Frank in my offer of general amnesty to humanity; and indited at some nun's suggestion a queer epistle to my mother, something in the tone the prodigal son from afar might have used writing to his father when he first decided to abandon the husks and swine, &c. I boldly announced my intention of forsaking the path of wickedness, with a humble confession of hitherto having achieved supremacy in that nefarious kingdom, and of walking henceforth with the saints.

I added a practical postscript, that I was always very hungry, and stated with charming candour that I did not like any of the nuns except Mother Aloysius, which was rather a modification of the exuberant burst of virtue expressed on the first page. This postscript was judiciously altered past recognition, and I was ordered to copy it out: "I am very happy at Lysterby. All the dear nuns are so kind to me. We shall have a little feast soon. Please, dear mamma, send me some money."

If the money ever came, it was naturally confiscated by the dear nuns. It was not money we mites needed, but bread-andbutter and a cup of good milk, or a plate of simple sustaining porridge. However, for the moment the excitement of confession sustained us. Having communicated to each other the solemn impression that we had broken all the Commandments, committed the seven deadly sins, and made mockery of the four cardinal virtues, the next thing to decide was to what length of

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