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pulsion, yet I am thankful now that I found courage, when she asked me to kiss him, not to shrink from that simple duty of gratitude. I allowed her to lift me, and I put my mouth to the frozen forehead, with what a sense of fear and horror I even can recall to-day. I was glad to nestle up against Mrs Clement on the mail-car and press my lips against her live arm to get the cold contact from them. I felt so miserable, so broken was my faith in life, that the return to Lysterby passed unnoticed. I remember neither the departure, the journey, nor the arrival at school.

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tion closed with that dread picture of a dead man and a white shroud, and in the lugubrious illumination of tapers, and nurse sobbing and keening, with no hope of comfort. After that the troubles of home and school looked poor enough, and for some time the nuns found me a very sober and studious little girl. It was long before even Mr Parker could raise a smile; and Play Day, when we were permitted to do as we liked all day, found me with no livelier desire than to sit still and pore over the novels of Lady Georgiana Fullerton.


This period of unwonted mildness in a turbulent career was seized by the good ladies of Lysterby as a fitting moment for my first communion. It might be only a temporary lull in a course of perversity which would not occur again and so I was ordered to study anew the lives of the saints. This was quite enough to turn my eager mind from thoughts of daring deed to dreams of sanctity.

I proposed to model my life on that of each fresh saint; was in turn St Louis of Gonzague, St Elizabeth of Hungary, St Theresa and St Stanislaus of Koscuetzo, for the life of me I cannot remember the spelling of that Polish name, but it began with a K and ended with an O, with a mad assortment of consonants and vowels between. St Elizabeth I found

very charming, until the excessive savagery of her confessor, Master Conrad, diminished my enthusiasm. When I came to the barbarous scene where Master Conrad orders the queen to visit him in his monastery, which was against the monacal law, and then proceeds to thrash her bare back while he piously recites the Miserere, I shut the book for ever, and declined upon the spot to become a saint.

Nevertheless I made my first communion in a most edifying spirit. I spent a week in retreat down in the town convent, and walked for hours up and down the high-walled garden discoursing with precocious unctuousness to my good friend Mother Aloysius, who, naïve soul, was lost in wonder and admiration of my gravity and sanctimoniousness. I medi

tated and examined my conscience with a vengeance. I delighted in the conviction of my past wickedness, and was so thrilled with the sensation of being a converted sinner that, like Polly Evans, gladly would I have revived the medieval custom of public confession. Contrition once more prompted me to pen a conventional letter of penitence, submission, affection, and promise of good behaviour to my mother, which virtuous epistle, like a former one, remained without an answer.

This was part of the extreme sincerity of my mother's character. She wished her children, like herself, to be "all of a piece," and did not encourage temporary or sensational developments in them. Since she never stooped to play for herself or the gallery the part of fond mother, she kept at bay inclination in us to dip into filial sentimentalism. Never was there a parent less likely to kill the fatted calf on the prodigal's return.


And then, in wreath and veil and white robe, with downcast eyes and folded hands to resemble the engraving of St Louis of Gonzague, I walked up the little chapel one morning without breakfast. The harmonium rumbled, the novices sang, the smell of flowers and wax was about me, incense sent its perfumed smoke into the air, and I lay prostrate over my prie-dieu, weeping from ecstasy. I fancied my self on the rim of heaven, held in the air by angels. I have a notion now that I wanted

to die, so unbearable was the ache of spiritual joy. I was literally bathed in bliss, and held communion with the seraphs.

It seemed a vulgar and monstrous impertinence to be carried off, after such a moment, to the nuns' refectory and there be fed upon buttered toast and crumpets and cake. With such a feast of good things before me I could not eat. I wanted to go back to the chapel and resume my converse with the heavenly spheres. Instead, Mother Aloysius invited me out to the garden, and there spoke long and earnestly, in her dear, simple, kindly way, of my duties as a Christian. I was no longer a bad troublesome child, but a little woman of eleven, with all sorts of grave responsibilities. I was to become disciplined and studious, check my passion for reading, take to sewing, and cultivate a respectful attitude to my superiors. She owned that for the moment I was a model of all the virtues, but would it last long, she dubiously added.

Wise woman! It did not last long. The normal child is occasionally bad and generally good. I reversed the order, and was only very occasionally good and generally as bad as possible. The period of temporary beatification over, I was speedily at loggerheads again with my old enemy Sister Esmeralda. Would you know the cause of our last and most violent quarrel? Lady Wilhelmina of the Abbey had a

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little girl of my age, so like me that we might have been twinsisters. Because of this strange resemblance, Lady Wilhelmina often invited me up to the Abbey to play with her daughter Adelaide. She was a dull, proud child, whom I rather despised, but we got through many an afternoon comfortably enough, playing cricket with her brother Oswald. One Sunday after benediction, Adelaide and I were walking side by side when we came near Sister Esmeralda talking to an elder pupil.

"Isn't it wonderful that those children should be so alike!" exclaimed the girl. might be twins."


"Not at all," cried Sister Esmeralda, tartly. "Lady Adelaide is far handsomer than Angela, who is only a common little Irish thing."

The words were not meant for my hearing, but they stung me as a buffet. I flashed back like a wild creature on flame, and stood panting in front of my enemy, while Adelaide, pale and trembling, caught my dress behind.

"I heard what you said, and it's a lie. I'm not a common little Irish thing. I am just as good as Lady Adelaide-or you, or anybody else. The Irish are much nicer than the English any day, ever so much nicer, -there, and I hate you, so I do."

"Oh, Angela!" sobbed Adelaide, clutching at my dress.

"Let me alone, you too!" I screamed, beside myself with

passion. "I don't care whether you are handsomer than I, for you're just an ordinary little girl, not half as clever as I."

Adelaide, who had a spirit of her own, retorted in proper fashion, and before Sister Esmeralda had time to shake me and push me in before her, I struck the poor little aristocrat full on her angry scarlet cheek.

I was only conscious of the enormity of my fall on receiving a tender almost broken-hearted note from Mother Aloysius. "Dearest child," it lovingly ran, "what has become of all your good resolutions? What about all those nice sensible promises of gentle and submissive behaviour you made me down here in the garden? Is that how St Louis of Gonzague, St Elizabeth of Hungary, would have acted? Tell Sister Esmeralda how sorry you are; and write, like my good little Angela, and tell me you are sorry too.

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I penned with great care a fervent and honest reply, which I begged Miss Lawson, the lay teacher, to carry to my friend in town. "I'm sorry, ever so sorry, because you are sorry, and you are the only person here I love. But I won't be sorry for Sister Esmeralda. I hate her. She said I was a common little Irish thing. mean and nasty, for I am only a child and can't hurt her, and she's big and can hurt me. If I am Irish, I am as good as her."



My mother came over again to Lysterby with Pauline and Birdie, who shared my last year in that quaint old town. My mother's second visit is a vague remembrance. I recall a singular old gentleman who joined us in an expedition to Guy's Cliff, and terrified the life out of us girls by a harrowing description of the hourly peril he walked under, and a fervid assurance that he might drop down dead at that very moment of speech. We walked behind him in frozen fear, and looked each moment to see him drop dead at our feet, but my mother discoursed in front of us quite unconcerned. He wore a cloak with a big cape, and said “Madam" after every second word. Guy's Cliff I remember as a lovely place; but the chill water of the well was not so chill as my blood while I contemplated that doomed old man.

Pauline's latest enthusiasm was Miss Braddon, and what glorious things she made of Lady Audley's Secret,' 'Aurora Floyd,' and, I fancy, a tale about a Captain Vulture! I read these books afterwards (that is the two first), and what poor tawdry stuff, my faith, compared with the brilliant embroideries of my most imaginative sister, who turned lead into pure gold!

Years, how many, many years, after, a man of European fame, one of the rare figures that go to make up a century's portraits, speaking of Pauline, said she was the

cleverest woman he had ever known. But alas! alas! hers was not a cleverness a woman poor and obscure could utilise. A man, she would have been a great statesman, for she was a born politician. Geography was her passion, history her mania,-not that she could ever have written history, for she was too quick, complex, and vital to learn so slow a trade as that of a writer's; but hers was a miraculous intuitive seizure of history, that made it to her imperious vision present, and not the smallest historical fact in Europe escaped her attention and remembrance. Could crowned heads but know what a severe and unflinching gaze was fixed upon them! of what singular and passionate importance to her was the marriage of their most distant relatives! Modern history and modern politics became to her what classical music had been to our daft grandfather, whom she strongly resembled. They absorbed her, filled the long, long days of sick and lonely maidenhood, when, such was the vividness, the surprising vitality of her matchless imagination, that in a dull seaside residence she found, and lived and died in, her own excitements and gratifications of mind and soul.

Miss Lawson before leaving the convent had inoculated us, the little ones, her devoted admirers, with a curious passion for pinafored mites whist. Whist for several months be

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came the object of our existence. Lessons in comparison were but a trivial occupation. When Birdie and I next went home, we taught the game to still smaller mites, and such were the gamblers we became, that we have played whist, I the eldest of the four confederates, twelve, with renowned and aged clubmen, who found us their match. We slept with a pack of cards under our pillow, and dawn found us four little night - dressed girls gathered together in one bed with the lid of a bandbox over our joined knees, rapturously playing whist.

On the pretext of meeting our father at the station of Dalkey every evening at halfpast six, we took possession of the waiting-room, cards in hand, and imperiously acquainted our friend the stationmaster with the fact that the room was engaged. The novelty of the situation so tickled the station - master that while we four miscreants in short skirts played our game of whist, not a soul was allowed to enter the waiting-room—an injustice I now marvel at.

The boys and girls around us were neglected. We only cared for whist, which we played from the time we got up until we went to bed, with no other variation that I remember except sea-bathing and Captain Marryat's novels. As none of the boys or girls shared our desperate passion, it followed that I and my three smaller stepsisters became inseparable, and held all our fellows who did not live for whist to be poor dull


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Now I always take a hand with pleasure because of that defunct vice; but, alas! I am compelled to own that I never played so well as at eleven.

My next passion, for which Pauline this time was responsible, was genealogy. We invented a family called the L'Estranges, and brought them over with the Conqueror. Where they had previously come from we did not ask. What did it matter? To come over with the Conqueror was, we knew, a certificate of chivalry. The chief, Walter, fought at the Battle of Hastings. We pictured him with golden locks, a bright and haughty visage, stern grey eyes that could look ineffably soft in a love scene, and beautiful shining armour. We married him to a certain Saxon Edith, and down as far as the Battle of Bosworth Field, Walter and Edith were the favourite family names of the L'Estranges. To give piquancy to our most delightful game, and stimulate our imagination, we founded a cemetery of the L'Estranges. We made little wooden tombstones, on which we carved imaginary epitaphs of all the imaginary L'Estranges 3 A

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